RCPCH brings together international paediatric associations in letter to COP28 Presidency

For the first time, global leaders will be looking at international action on climate and health at COP28’s Health Day. RCPCH have issued a letter to the COP28 Presidency and Health team, urging the prioritisation of child health in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.
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Co-signed by international paediatric associations, the letter highlights the necessity for reducing fossil fuels, action on air quality and calls on world leaders to place child health at the forefront on Health Day. Urgent policy action is needed to focus efforts towards a healthier and more sustainable future for children and young people worldwide.

In the letter, RCPCH:

  • Emphasise the need for world leaders to prioritise child health within climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, safeguarding the well-being of current and future generations of children.
  • Strongly advocates for more emphasis on climate mitigation, particularly addressing the primary driver of climate change – fossil fuels.
  • States the critical need for immediate action, as 99% of children worldwide face risks due to climate change.
  • Highlights the importance of clean air in improving public health, particularly for children, who are disproportionately vulnerable to the adverse effects of air pollution.
  • Calls for urgent policy action to meet the World Health Organisation’s Global Air Quality Guidelines as soon as possible.

Officer for Climate Change, Helena Clements said:

All children deserve the opportunity to have the best chance for a healthy start in life. It is encouraging that health is now on the Agenda at COP28, however, as a paediatrician I would like to see efforts to protect children at the centre of discussions.

Recently I’ve been reflecting on the powerful role that clinicians have in advocating for climate justice and I am grateful we can bring together the paediatricians from around the world to call for prioritisation of children and young people. I hope that the COP28 Presidency hears our message to place child health at the forefront of Health Day and that every country and their representatives commit to building a healthier and more sustainable future for children and young people.

The letter is available to download below.