Health will be at the centre of Cop28 climate discussions, Dr Al Jaber says

Cop28 President-designate says the connection between health and climate change is clear

'The connection between health and climate change is evident, yet it has not been a specific focus of the Cop process – until now,' said Dr Sultan Al Jaber. EPA
Powered by automated translation

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Cop28 President-designate, has vowed that health will be at the centre of climate discussions during the conference later this year.

He made his comments on Monday against the backdrop of the UN General Assembly and New York Climate Week.

“The connection between health and climate change is evident, yet it has not been a specific focus of the Cop process – until now. This must change,” he said.

“As we prepare for the groundbreaking Health Day at Cop28, we are resolute in our determination to address the challenges posed to health by climate change and encourage ambitious investment in the health sector.

'Our goal is to build resilient, equitable health systems capable of withstanding the impact of climate change.”

Dr Al Jaber commented on the risks climate change poses to health, including shifting disease patterns, expanding vectors and the resurgence of previously contained diseases.

Lives are at risk

World Health Organisation statistics reveal that air pollution alone leads to more than seven million deaths annually and that vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, are expanding their reach due to rising temperatures and changing weather patterns, disproportionately affecting vulnerable communities, Dr Al Jaber said.

Cop28 Health Day, scheduled for December 3, will also take into account the fragility of public health systems worldwide, as exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the urgent need for transformative changes to adapt these systems in response to climate change, he added.

“Cop28 is determined to shine a light on these issues and to bring together partners who can make a positive difference,” said Dr Al Jaber.

“We are determined to reverse these trends by bringing the world together around an inclusive action agenda centred around a just transition, fairer climate finance and improved lives and livelihoods.”

Dr Al Jaber also called for increased concessional funds to the Global South to lower risks and attract private capital.

He emphasised the need to rebalance finance and called on governments to double adaptation finance by 2025, urging them to contribute generously to replenish the Green Climate Fund.

Cop28 will take place at Dubai's Expo City from November 30.

Updated: September 19, 2023, 5:13 AM