The Philippines has stepped forward in the global effort to combat the health impacts of climate change, endorsing the Climate and Health Declaration at the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) in Dubai. The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines was among 123 states backing the declaration, which underlines the need for health considerations in climate action and advocates for the creation of climate-resilient and equitable health systems.
Financial Commitments and the Climate Health Agenda
The DOH has pledged USD1 billion to further the global climate health agenda. Additional financial commitments to support the declaration include a USD300 million contribution from the Global Fund, USD100 million from the Rockefeller Foundation, and up to GBP54 million from the United Kingdom. These funds aim to prepare health systems, amplify climate announcements and health solutions, and alleviate the health burden from air pollution and extreme weather events.
Role of COP28 in Addressing Climate Change
COP28 serves as a crucial forum for discussing climate change issues, with its primary objectives being to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C, help vulnerable communities adapt to the effects of climate change, and achieve zero-net emissions by 2050. The declaration was issued on December 2, amidst various announcements during the World Climate Action Summit to keep the 1.5C target within reach.
Criticism and Concerns
However, not all feedback has been positive. Some environmental and civil organizations have voiced disappointment at the Philippine Delegation’s failure to ensure meaningful participation of communities at the first-ever Philippine Pavilion at COP28. This exclusion of vulnerable groups raises concerns about potential bias against civil society bringing critical discussions to the table, both domestically and at international climate negotiations.
Health Risks Posed by Climate Change
Physicians, activists, and country representatives at COP28 have urged for increased global efforts to protect people from the escalating health and safety risks posed by climate change. As global temperatures are projected to continue rising, countries will need to escalate funding for healthcare to counter the increased dangers from heatwaves and the spread of diseases like malaria and cholera.