RCPCH welcomes global commitment to COP28 Health Declaration

The COP28 Presidency, in partnership with the World Health Organization and UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, has unveiled the ‘COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate and Health’.
Hands hold clay sculpture of globe and figures

The declaration was endorsed by over 120 countries, including the four countries of the UK, and was launched ahead of the first ever ‘Health Day’ at COP, which took place on 3 December bringing together health ministers and leaders from around the world. 

The COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health commits to policies aimed at maximising health benefits from climate actions and prevent worsening health impacts. This includes: 

  • Underscoring the importance of healthy populations in climate resilience 
  • Advocating for more climate-resilient and sustainable health systems
  • Strengthening cross-sectoral collaboration to reduce emissions and maximize the health benefits of climate action
  • Increasing finance for climate and health solutions. 

Signatories have committed to incorporating health targets in their national climate plans and improving international collaboration to address the health risks of climate change, including at future COPs. 

We welcome the commitment in the declaration to involve and collaborate with key groups including children and young people. We would have liked to see more emphasis on addressing the primary driver of climate change – fossil fuels - which we called for in our letter to the COP28 Presidency

We are pleased to see the UK government commit £1.6 billion for international climate finance projects during COP28 and we hope these investments will be able to scale up climate and health solutions, particularly to safeguard a healthy future for children and young people worldwide. 

Dr Helena Clements, RCPCH Officer for Climate Change, says: 

It is reassuring to see support for the COP28 health day and to see so many countries sign up to the declaration. It’s about time health was placed at the heart of climate action so that we prioritise developing climate-resilient, sustainable, and equitable health systems. Although, I do hope the extraction and burning of fossil fuels and their direct impact on health can be considered and addressed in future meetings.

It is encouraging that 124 countries have endorsed the declaration and its commitment to collaborate with children and young people. I am also delighted to see the UK Government's commitment to invest in international climate projects and hope that it will support global action to tackle climate change and improve air quality, which would benefit child health tremendously.