WHO calls for 'urgent' action on climate, health at COP28

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday urged "urgent" action on climate and health at the upcoming COP28 climate change conference, underlining that action for a livable climate should be recognized as also being action for health, News.Az reports citing Anadolu Agency. 

The United Arab Emirates is set to host this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12 with the aim of keeping the Paris Agreement warming target of 1.5C (2.7F) alive.

"As the world unites at COP28, the health community calls for decisive action," said the UN agency in a statement. "We urge negotiators to recognize that climate action is health action, and failure to address this reality will have profound consequences for the well-being of current and future generations."

"The WHO call to action unites the health community in demanding a commitment to building resilient health systems, reducing emissions, and prioritizing health," it added.

Ahead of COP28, it said it is working with the global health community to advocate for the health impact of climate change to be prioritized in negotiations.

"Prioritizing health is not just a choice; it is the foundation of resilient societies,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

According to Tedros, leaders "must" deliver in Dubai by providing the strong health outcomes their peoples expect and their economies urgently need.

"We must change the conversation and demonstrate the massive benefits of bolder climate action on our health and well-being," he said.

Recognizing the financial shortfall in healthcare systems, the WHO said the health community urges additional financing from innovative channels. The appeal entails divesting from and terminating subsidies for fossil fuels, and generating novel funds to bolster health care systems in adapting to climate change, it said.

"Failure to act swiftly will render health systems worldwide vulnerable to the overwhelming impacts of climate change," the agency said, underlining that climate change is not "a distant threat" but a "present danger."

According to the health community, climate change is already affecting public health, leading to the escalation of infectious diseases and illnesses transmitted through vectors, and in order to mitigate the adverse health effects, the health community emphasizes the importance of reducing and eliminating emissions.

WHO figures show that 7 million premature deaths are attributed to air pollution every year.

"Urgent mitigation measures, including transitioning to clean energy sources, are necessary to protect human health and create sustainable outcomes," it said.

Meanwhile, it said, over a billion people worldwide are served by health care facilities with unreliable electricity or no electricity at all.


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