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Healthy Features Summit: Climate crisis is also a health crisis – WHO, COP29

The climate crisis also means a health crisis, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said.

Forecasting Healthy Futures Global Summit
Forecasting Healthy Futures Global Summit in Baku, Azerbaijan

Ghebreyesus, who made the submssion at the Forecasting Healthy Futures Global Summit held in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, said that climate change affects human health.

“Without common efforts, this problem will grow even more,” stated the head of WHO, even as he emphasised that the organisation closely cooperates with Azerbaijan ahead of COP29.

Similarly, COP29 Lead Negotiator and Azerbaijani Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yalchin Rafiyev, said at the Forecasting Healthy Futures Global Summit that climate change has a serious impact on human health.

COP29 also focuses on addressing health problems, said Rafiyev, adding that the international community backed Azerbaijan’s hosting COP29.

Rafiyev added that the effects of climate change are increasing: “We must work for a more sustainable future.”

He added: “We will aim to invest in human health during the COP29 presidency. We try to broaden the COP29 agenda. Human health is an important factor. All work is ongoing.”

Rafiyev added that the Cabinet of Ministers will decide on the opening of Azerbaijan’s land borders during COP29.

On his part, COP28 Director-General, Majid Al Suwaidi, said: “We need to work to secure funding for climate action and health.”

He added that the countries should work for common goals and show solidarity.

David Smith, Director of the Centre for Environmental Management of the University of the West Indies, at the Forecasting Healthy Futures Global Summit, said: “We must not delay climate change adaptation measures.”

He said that climate change affects small island states in particular: “Of course, our potential is not so great. But we have problems. These problems cause various disasters and migration as well.”

Head of the WHO office in Azerbaijan, Hande Harmanci, opined that health workers must understand that climate change is a problem.

“We must understand that we have created this problem, and we must solve it. Unfortunately, health professionals are under-represented in this crisis,” she said.

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