The Rockefeller Foundation welcomes the announcement by COP28 Director-General Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi on the first-ever Health Day at the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. By bringing together country leadership, global health expertise, and community perspectives to identify and scale innovations, Health Day will be a significant step forward in addressing the health impacts of the climate crisis.
Climate change is the single biggest health threat facing humanity. It threatens to undo the last 50 years of progress in development, global health, and poverty reduction, and to further widen existing health inequities between and within communities. Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year, and the direct damage costs to health is estimated to be between USD $2-4 billion per year by 2030, according to the World Health Organization.
Concerted action must be taken – and it starts with recognizing that climate and health are intrinsically linked and that the world’s response must center the communities most impacted. During this inaugural Health Day at COP28, The Rockefeller Foundation calls for the active participation from Ministries of Health and civil society organizations from low- and middle-income countries, which have contributed the least to climate change, but need the most investment to prepare, respond, and adapt to it. COP28’s Health Day has the opportunity to catalyze an equitable acceleration of climate action and help ensure we can build a future where people can not only survive but thrive.