Day one of the inaugural Forecasting Healthy FuturesGlobal Summit concluded in Abu Dhabi yesterday, bringing together world leaders in climate, health, and technology to catalyse ideas and solutions to mitigate the impact of global warming on human health.
Co-hosted by Reaching the Last Mile, a portfolio of global health programs driven by the personal philanthropy of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the event was convened with the goal of moving the global health community towards new partnerships and substantial financing in support of climate-adaptive health strategies, ahead of COP28 in Dubai later this year.
The summit featured a keynote speech by His Excellency Majid Al-Suwaidi, Director General of COP28, in addition to a virtual address by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Addressing the summit, His Excellency Majid Al-Suwaidiwarned that climate change threatens to undo the gains made in global health in recent decades and emphasized the need for renewed commitments, collaboration, and financing to strengthen health systems and ensure vulnerable communities are protected against climate shocks.
“COP28 will deliver the first ever Global Stocktake where the world will come together to assess progress made towards the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C,” he said. “It will reveal the gap in ambitions and reality – we are likely to be off track. The world needs a course correction.
“The COP28 UAE Presidency will work to ensure that together we urgently accelerate action to get the world back on track by 2030. The challenges we face are enormous. To meet our targets, we must cut emissions by 43% in less than seven years in order to drive healthcare system strengthening, adaptation, prevention, relief, and recovery for affected populations.”
He continued: “We must work together to ensure that this is a COP of solidarity, which bridges the global North and South and brings in all stakeholders including the private sector, scientists, civil society, Indigenous peoples, women, and youth, leaving no-one behind. Through an inclusive approach, we hope COP28 can find solutions and outcomes, across healthcare, mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage.”
In his speech,Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,Director General of the World Health Organization, also underscored the urgent need for new spending and partnerships in support of climate adaptation strategies in global health.
“The climate crisis is a health crisis,” he said. “Extreme weather events, biodiversity loss, land degradation and food and water scarcity have a profound impact on the health of millions of people.
We must embrace strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate change, such as using innovative technologies, investing in climate-resilient health systems, and having a well-trained and decently paid health workforce.”
He continued: “The climate crisis affects all of us. We all must work together to respond across borders and across sectors to build a healthier, fairer, and more sustainable future for all.”
Tala Al-Ramahi, a Director with Reaching the Last Mile, highlighted the opportunity represented by the summit to galvanise new momentum and realise the ambitions of UAE leadership within COP28.
“Today we stand at an important inflection point, at the convergence of three powerful forces; the unprecedented global commitment to halt climate change and prevent further destruction of our planet, a growing understanding of the impact of climate on human health, and the emergence of new knowledge and technologies to build equitable and resilient health systems,” she said.
“In his address to COP27, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, stressed how imperative it is that we work together with determination and optimism to address the shared challenges of our planet. This is precisely what we seek to achieve today through the Forecasting Healthy Futures Global Summit. Let’s make the most of this moment and leave here with a roadmap to a healthier future.”
The Forecasting Healthy Futures Global Summit 2023 is taking place from March 14 to 16 in Abu Dhabi, co-hosted by Forecasting Healthy Futures and the Reaching the Last Mile initiative.
Forecasting Healthy Futures (FHF) is a consortium of leading health and technology organizations convened by Malaria No More with funding from Reaching the Last Mile. Since its launch in 2020, FHF has worked to drive innovation and investment in new strategies and technologies to protect global health gains from the impacts of climate change.
In January 2022, Forecasting Healthy Futures launched the Institute for Malaria and Climate Solutions (IMACS), a global institute committed to supporting malaria elimination efforts through the use of increasingly sophisticated prediction and planning tools, and the technical assistance and supportive policies needed to help governments use them to counter the volatile effects of global warming and extreme weather events.