We must fight one of the world’s biggest health threats

by doctor Tedros Adhanom GhebreyesusDirector-General of the World Health Organization. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, nominated as President of the COP 28 United Nations Climate Change Conference.and Dr. Vanessa KellyWHO Special Envoy for Climate Change and Health, CEO of Seed Global Health

In the face of one of the greatest health threats to humanity, the need to urgently implement measures to combat climate change remains an urgent but unrealized goal.

Climate change is ongoing and its effects are being felt around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that a staggering one in four deaths are due to preventable environmental causes, and climate change is exacerbating these risks.

Climate change is posing a number of complex health challenges, from extreme weather events to the spread of infectious diseases and worsening of chronic diseases. It cannot be prevented with vaccines or treated with antibiotics. But we know we can reduce its impact.

In order to limit climate change and keep 1.5°C within reach, it is important to reduce emissions in all sectors. To achieve this, the world must decarbonize its energy system and reduce emissions by at least 43% over the next seven years.

If we don’t act, climate change will soon overwhelm the world’s health systems. Extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, and heat waves will increase in frequency and severity as the planet warms. For example, last year’s floods in Pakistan displaced 8 million people and affected 33 million people overall.

We know that worse can happen. Without bold and urgent action, the World Bank estimates that climate change will displace approximately 216 million people by 2050. Climate change is putting lives and livelihoods at risk as global food systems struggle to feed a growing world and water sources are at risk. And climate change is causing a surge in infectious diseases such as dengue fever and cholera, putting millions of people at risk.

Measures to reduce emissions can have significant health benefits, including reducing air pollution, which kills 7 million people each year.

The link between health and climate change is clear. The international community now needs to accelerate the energy transition away from fossil fuels and build resilience at the same time.

What the international community needs to understand is that investing in climate resilience at the local level pays off. The World Bank estimates that for every dollar spent building resilience to climate change, an average of $4. We estimate that it will be profitable.

Most importantly, if you do, the cost will be staggering. do not have Activities. Climate change is already affecting almost half of the world’s population. Under a 2°C warming scenario, an additional 1.4 billion people will be exposed to heat stress by 2050, with the majority exposed to the most severe stress.

Health must be at the heart of just climate change, because those least able to withstand the effects of climate change will suffer the most. Low-income and middle-income countries are already feeling the effects of climate change disproportionately, even though they account for a very small share of global emissions.

These disparities will only get worse. According to the World Bank, nearly 40% of climate-related poverty is attributable to direct health impacts as people lose their livelihoods and increase healthcare costs.

This future cannot be our reality. That’s why we’re calling on governments and key stakeholders around the world to come to COP28 with ambitious solutions to prevent these health disasters and help those already affected. .

As the world’s response to COVID-19 has shown, even in the face of great health threats, when we come together, act and deliver, humanity comes together to tackle our most dramatic challenges. can do. This has never been more important.

This year’s UN Climate Conference will host a first-ever special health day on 3 December, launching an important call to action starting with two key pillars.

The first Climate and Health Ministers’ Meeting will be held on this day. We have worked closely with national champions including Brazil, Malawi, the UK, US, Netherlands, Kenya, Fiji, India, Egypt, Sierra Leone and Germany to develop the Climate and Health Declaration. We are announcing this during the recent World Health Summit. This Declaration on Climate and Health puts health at the heart of the climate change agenda and an important part of the COP28 legacy.

We call on all governments to sign the Declaration. Because we know that, together, we can deliver a public health system that is climate-resilient, climate-neutral, sustainable and fair, and that benefits us all.

Second, fundraising will be an important catalyst for COP28 Health Day. As well as increasing total climate financing, we want to leverage investments to support health. Currently, only 2 percent of adaptation finance and his 0.5 percent of multilateral climate finance go to the health sector.

COP28 can help transform the entire climate finance infrastructure to make an impact. We urge international financial institutions and multilateral development banks to increase the flow of concessional finance to the Global South, reduce risks and attract more private capital, while reducing the proportion dedicated to adaptation and health. We are asking you to increase the.

We are facing an unprecedented crisis. We already have solutions for this moment. It is important to respond to climate change with a focus on health.

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