Dubai: Physicians, activists and country representatives at this year’s COP28 U.N. climate summit in Dubai have called for greater global efforts to protect people from the increasing health and safety risks posed by climate change. With global temperatures set to continue climbing for decades, experts say countries will need to boost funding for healthcare as heatwaves become more dangerous and diseases like malaria and cholera spread. Climate-related impacts “have become one of the greatest threats to human health in the 21st century”, COP28 President Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber said in a statement.
Late on Saturday, 123 of the nearly 200 countries gathered at COP28 signed a declaration acknowledging their responsibility to keep people safe. The declaration made no mention of fossil fuels, the main source of climate-warming emissions.
Thanks to climate change, cases of malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress are already on the rise in some regions.
A small group of physicians in white coats and climate activists held a small demonstration within the COP28 compound to raise awareness of the issue on Sunday. Joseph Vipond, an emergency physician from Alberta, Canada, said,
We are in a lot of trouble
He recalled the case of a child dying from an asthma attack made worse by smoke inhalation from Western Canada’s record wildfires this year. He further said,
This is having real world impacts.
Also Watch: Impact Of Climate Change On Food Security
Climate change is also increasing the frequency of dangerous storms and more erratic rainfall.
In September Storm Daniel killed more than 11,000 people in Libya, and last year’s massive flooding in Pakistan fueled a 400 per cent increase in malaria cases across the country, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Governments and philanthropic bodies are expected later on Sunday to announce new financing for climate-related health issues.
The World Bank on Sunday launched a new Climate and Health programme to explore possible interventions and public health solutions for developing countries.
Ten of the world’s top development banks including the World Bank also said on Sunday they would work together to help countries track climate impacts, including public health risks, and to identify investment opportunities and priorities.
In a statement, the banks said the window of opportunity to secure a liveable planet was “rapidly closing”.
Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates said scientists were working on new treatments for and prevention of mosquito-spread malaria as the rise in temperatures creates more hospitable habitat for the insects to breed. Mr Gates, whose foundation supports public health research and projects for the developing world, said,
We have new tools at the lab level that decimate mosquito populations. These new innovations give us a chance, at a reasonable cost, to make progress.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also spoke on Sunday at COP28, urging reform to the world’s insurance system as another key requirement to keep people safe. Clinton said, addressing a panel on women and climate resiliency,
Right now insurance companies are pulling out of so many places, they’re not insuring homes, they’re not insuring businesses. As the climate changes, as storms increase and drought and heat increase, it’s people everywhere who are going to be left out with no backup, no insurance for their business or their home.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.