Health Is Priority at COP27
The climate talks have started in Egypt. Among other critical issues like mitigation and climate finance, health has emerged as one of the most important and discussed topics at COP27. According to the WHO, the climate crisis is increasingly making people sick across the globe and, amongst climate change negotiations, health must be at the core of the discussion. To make people more aware of the intense impact of climate change, WHO has organised a health pavilion for the participants of COP27, where they will showcase evidence, initiatives, and solutions to maximise health benefits and combat climate change across various sectors and communities.
The COP27 Health Pavilion will be a two-week programme event where the main focus will be to ensure health and equity at the centre of climate change talks and negotiations. It is important to note that the pavilion will be located in the Blue Zone of the Sharm-El-Sheikh International Convention Center (SHICC) and is only available for delegates with secured badges. The event will also be live-streamed online so that participants can follow it.
Talking about the importance of health in the climate talk negotiations, WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “Climate change is making millions of people sick or more vulnerable to disease all over the world and the increasing destructiveness of extreme weather events disproportionately affects poor and marginalized communities. It is crucial that leaders and decision-makers come together at COP27 to put health at the heart of the negotiations.” As noted, building healthy companies depends on good employee health to be taken as the most important priority for any business. Along with this, it is crucial for companies to address climate policies and adopt a transitioning sustainable model of business to stay relevant in the future. According to a report by WHO, climate change will cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year from malaria, malnutrition, heat stress, and diarrhoea between 2030 to 2050. The report also states that the direct damage costs to health are estimated to be between USD 2-4 billion per year by 2030.
However, all hope is not lost as at COP27, many global leaders seem to be coming forward with solutions to environmental problems and may be common ground for climate negotiation discussions. Country governments are now taking action on ‘implementing’ the pledges taken in the previous COP26. For example, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, “When the world came together in Glasgow last year, nations agreed on a historic roadmap for preventing catastrophic global warming. It is more important than ever that we deliver on those pledges. We need to move further and faster to transition to renewable energy, and I will ensure the UK is at the forefront of this global movement as a clean energy superpower.”
As noted, ‘Loss and Damage finance funding’ was officially included as a main agenda for the first time ever in any COP forum. This is indeed another positive outcome at COP27, as rich countries who were initially ignoring the pleas of poorer nations for climate finance funds are now facing enough international pressure that they may be compelled to take account of their actions towards the same.
As events unfold, we can see that COP27 is, at least, putting major emphasis on taking action when it comes to resolving climate change issues by focussing on climate policies that promote better health benefits such as better air, safe freshwater and food, access to treatment, and the social systems that ensure healthier people and a healthier environment.
Health is a fundamental tenet of the social aspect of ESG. To find out how companies are progressing via their ESG Ratings, follow our Company ESG Profiles. For further climate news, visit our COP27 page.