PH endorses climate, health declaration at COP28

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

December 3, 2023, 8:57 am

<p>Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa <em>(File photo) </em></p>

Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa (File photo) 

MANILA – The Philippines has endorsed at the Conference of Parties 28 (COP28) in Dubai a landmark declaration that acknowledges the growing health impacts of climate change on communities and countries.

The Philippines, through the Department of Health (DOH), joined 122 other states in endorsing the Climate and Health Declaration that will place health at the heart of climate action and accelerate the development of "climate-resilient, sustainable and equitable health systems".

The DOH on Saturday said the member countries, including the Philippines, declared support amounting to USD1 billion to push the climate health agenda further globally.

“The Philippines, through the DOH, shall remain committed to pursuing the climate health agenda," said DOH Secretary Teodoro Herbosa.

"We will be able to protect countless Filipino lives through comprehensive research endeavors to address data gaps, timely actions to address climate-related health impacts, utilization and adaptation of innovative efforts, and integrated health financing mechanisms,” he added.

Other new finance commitments were announced to back up the declaration, including a USD300 million commitment by the Global Fund to prepare health systems, USD100 million by the Rockefeller Foundation to scale up climate announcement and health solutions, and by the United Kingdom of up to GBP54 million.

The declaration was issued on December 2 and joins a series of announcements made during the World Climate Action Summit to keep 1.5C within reach.

The declaration acknowledges the large benefits to people’s health from stronger climate action, including reducing air pollution and lowering health care costs.

The joint action comes as annual deaths from polluted air hit almost nine million while 189 million people are exposed to extreme weather-related events each year.

COP28 is the United Nations’ annual climate change conference and is considered “the world’s only multilateral decision-making forum on climate change,” which encourages the participation of almost every country in the world, specifically member states of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The conference aims to discuss the crisis of climate change, such as global temperature rise, adaptation of vulnerable communities to climate change consequences, and achievement of zero-net emissions by 2050.

Herbosa and other DOH officials attended the conference joining thousands of delegates from across the globe where the announcement of the Climate and Health Declaration during the Leader’s Event: Putting Health at the Center of the Climate Agenda was featured. (PNA)