YK Poudel

Dubai- Bhutan, in conjunction with 122 other nations, endorsed the UAE Declaration on Climate and Health on December 3, committing to a promised funding window of one billion.

The commitment was made public during the ongoing 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) by President Sultan al-Jaber, preceding the inaugural Health Day at the UN Climate Conference.

The declaration signifies a dedication to meet and collaborate on policies, health systems, and responses to the impacts of climate change, including efforts to curb emissions and reduce waste.

This marks a significant milestone as it is the world’s first government acknowledgment of the escalating health impacts of climate change on countries and communities at the ground level.

The public can anticipate increased investments and benefits from enhanced climate actions, reduced air pollution, and lower healthcare costs as a result of this declaration.

Member states emphasised the importance of addressing the interactions between climate change and human health within the framework of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, key international platforms for the global response to climate change.

According to the COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health, in light of the first Global Stocktake and lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic, the nations are committed to advancing climate-resilient development, strengthening health systems, and building resilient communities for the benefit of present and future generations.

To achieve better health outcomes, the declaring countries commit to transforming health systems to be climate-resilient, low-carbon, sustainable, and equitable. This includes better preparation for the impacts of climate change on communities and the most vulnerable populations.

The commitment also involves pursuing common objectives such as strengthening the development and implementation of policies maximising health gains from mitigation and adaptation actions, collaborating on human, animal, environment, and climate health challenges, and improving the ability of health systems to anticipate and implement adaptation interventions against climate-sensitive diseases and health risks.

Additionally, the countries agreed to promote steps to curb emissions and reduce waste in the health sector, including assessing greenhouse gas emissions, developing action plans, setting decarbonisation targets, and establishing procurement standards for national health systems.

Recognising the challenges faced by the health sector in accessing finance for health and climate change activities, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, the countries aim to leverage synergies at the intersection of climate change and health to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of finance flows.

To achieve these goals, the countries commit to better-integrating health considerations into climate policy processes and vice versa, including relevant Paris Agreement and UNFCCC processes, the design of nationally determined contributions, long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies, national adaptation plans, and adaptation communications.