UAE committed to developing health system resilient to climate change

Announcement comes before Cop26 environmental summit in Glasgow

The UAE is dedicated to developing a health system that is resilient to the impact of climate change, it announced on Friday.

The statement by the Ministry of Health and Prevention, in co-operation with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, comes two days before the start of the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.

The World Health Organisation is organising a conference on global health and climate change on the sidelines of the climate summit.

The UAE's announcement follows a call by the Cop26 presidency – held by the UK – to build an environmentally sustainable health sector.

The Emirates will seek to strengthen response measures as heat stress grows in an already hot and humid desert climate, state news agency Wam reported.

Currently, the UAE offers a midday break to outdoor workers during peak summer months.

The Abu Dhabi government has also introduced a Safety in Heat programme that aims at reducing heat exposure at the workplace.

In addition to adapting the health sector, the UAE is also working towards reducing emissions from health care.

The country is looking to assess of supply chain emissions and develop an action plan for a low-carbon health system in line with climate goals.

Emission reduction efforts in the health sector are expected to yield air quality improvements and related public health benefits.

Steps the UAE is taking are intended to enhance the health system's resilience and effectiveness in the face of future crises. It follows the nation's offer to host Cop28 in 2023, with a focus on making it as inclusive and action-oriented as possible.

The nation aims for a holistic approach towards climate action that brings together all key sectors, including health care, officials said.

In 2019, the UAE undertook a national climate risk assessment for the health sector and launched the UAE National Framework for Action on Climate Change and Health 2019-2021 with the WHO.

Under the framework, the committee is coordinating the development of a sector-specific adaptation plan.

The UAE is committed to updating the climate and health vulnerability and adaptation assessment on a regular basis and ensuring that the findings continue to inform health policies and programmes.

Updated: October 30th 2021, 5:58 AM