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Dec 3, 2023

Over 120 countries back COP28 UAE Climate and Health Declaration

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FA News Desk
View of the dais during informal consultations on supporting developing countries' national reports. IISD Photo
View of the dais during informal consultations on supporting developing countries’ national reports. IISD Photo

Over 120 countries signed onto the UAE Climate and Health Declaration. The Declaration urges governments to act to protect communities and prepare health systems for climate impacts, such as extreme heat stress and increased spread of infectious diseases.

The Global Climate Action high-level event opened, bringing together world leaders and non-state actors with a range of perspectives. In a fireside chat and opening speeches, delegates spoke of scalable solutions for enhancing resilience, addressing the adaptation gap, mobilizing finance, and keeping 1.5°C in reach.

A roundtable on mountains rallied calls for greater consideration of the climate vulnerability of mountain ecosystems in the climate negotiations. This sentiment was echoed by the leaders discussing landlocked developing countries’ challenges.

Among those all leaders who addressed the COP28 meet, Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said that I am deeply concerned about the findings of the recent IPCC report, that states climate-induced disasters are breaking records in the Himalayas. We have already lost one-third of our glaciers, and scientists have warned that we are going to lose another one-third by the end of this century.

The Himalayas are foundations of human civilizations, ecosystems, and biodiversity. This is a wake-up call to all of us.

Nepal is bearing a direct, disproportionate, and damaging effect of climate change despite near zero contribution to global emissions.

Nepal is fully committed to the Paris Agreement. We are committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emission by 2045, five year earlier than the global target. However, our attempts to implement climate change adaptation and mitigation plans are facing serious financial and technological gaps.

We, on the occasion of the first Health Day at the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), express our grave concern about the negative impacts of climate change on health. We stress the importance of addressing the interactions between climate change and human health and wellbeing in the context of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, as the primary international, intergovernmental fora for the global response to climate change.

We recognize the urgency of taking action on climate change, and note the benefits for health from deep, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, including from just transitions, lower air pollution, active mobility, and shifts to sustainable healthy diets.

The last day of the World Climate Action Summit included a myriad of events.  UN Secretary-General António Guterres used the opportunity to announce a new Panel on Critical Energy Transition Minerals whereas Heads of State and Government from the Group of 77 and China (G-77/China) formally met for the first time at a climate COP.

Much of the negotiations focused on adaptation. Other discussions on carbon markets showed more progress.

In order to work towards ensuring better health outcomes, including through the transformation of health systems to be climate-resilient, low-carbon, sustainable and equitable, and to better prepare communities and the most vulnerable populations for the impacts of climate change, COP28 stressed on strengthening the development and implementation of policies that maximize the health gains from mitigation and adaptation actions and prevent worsening health impacts from climate change, including through close partnerships with Indigenous Peoples, local communities, women and girls, children and youth, healthcare workers and practitioners, persons with disabilities and the populations most vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change, among others.

Facilitating collaboration on human, animal, environment and climate health challenges, recognizing that healthy populations contribute to, and are an effect of, climate resilience, improving the ability of health systems to anticipate and more.