Nadine Zidani panelist at COP28 for climate and health representing Mena Impact

Spotlight on Health & Climate at COP28

Global Recognition: Interconnected Crisis of Climate and Health

“The world has finally woken up to the reality that the climate crisis is also a health crisis. With this realization must follow bold, scalable action if we are to secure a liveable and sustainable future” Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca – Chair of the Sustainable Markets Initiative Health Systems Task Force, November 2023.

This realization gains even more significance in the context of the impact of climate change on health, now acknowledged as a pressing global crisis with implications for both public health and equity. Particularly affecting individuals in low- and middle-income countries, climate change exacerbates existing socioeconomic inequalities. 

Beyond posing direct threats to public health, this crisis spotlights the vulnerability of the healthcare sector itself, which is contributing almost 5% to global greenhouse gas emissions. The commitment of over 50 countries to decarbonize their health systems and enhance climate resilience reflects a collective recognition of the need for a sustainable vision. This vision not only safeguards patient care quality but also emphasizes efficient resource utilization. As we navigate this critical juncture, cities, with their complex intersections of health, transport, housing, and urban planning, emerge as strategic focal points for concerted action in the vital pursuit of decarbonization.

COP28: Pioneering Health in a Climate Conference

The urgency to address the impact of climate change on health has never been more evident. At COP28 in the UAE, a historic milestone was achieved which was the first Health Day in a COP. This unprecedented move marked a profound recognition of the symbiotic relationship between climate and health. 

In 2015, at COP21, the global community committed to limiting global warming to 1.5°C, and reaching net zero by 2050. With the impending deadline in 2030 to halve emissions, COP28 presented a prime opportunity to reassess, revitalize, and refocus the climate agenda.

The Alliance for Transformative Action on Climate and Health (ATACH):

At the forefront of this transformative movement is the Alliance for Transformative Action on Climate and Health (ATACH). Stemming from the ambition set at COP26, ATACH unites the collective power of WHO Member States and stakeholders to expedite the creation of climate-resilient and sustainable health systems. This alliance is committed to integrating the climate change and health nexus into national, regional, and global plans. By advocating for innovative solutions, ATACH aims to achieve resilient and sustainable health systems globally.

Key Objectives and Functions:

ATACH’s key objectives include supporting Member States in developing climate-resilient health systems, elevating the climate and health agenda, and encouraging commitments for increased ambition. The alliance also focuses on delivering a global shift on priority issues, monitoring progress, ensuring quality assurance, identifying financing needs, and facilitating knowledge sharing. It operates under the umbrella of WHO, serving as an informal voluntary network for Participants to exchange views, share information, and enhance technical and political cooperation.

Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Bold Move Towards a Greener Healthcare Future

In a historic announcement on November 29, 2023, global healthcare leaders, spearheaded by the Sustainable Markets Initiative Health Systems Task Force, showcased their commitment to decarbonize the healthcare sector ahead of COP28. This industry-first initiative sees prominent healthcare companies, including AstraZeneca, GSK, Novo Nordisk, and Roche, collaborating with energy providers in China and India to scale renewable power across their supply chains.

The agreements, a pioneering effort in the global healthcare sector, aim to unlock at least 70 megawatts of renewable power annually, with the potential to reduce approximately 120,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) by 2024. This groundbreaking move, orchestrated by Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca and Chair of the Sustainable Markets Initiative Health Systems Task Force, sends a positive demand signal for green power, providing a blueprint for others to follow.

This initiative complements the WHO’s efforts through the Alliance for Transformative Action on Climate and Health (ATACH), fostering climate-resilient and climate-friendly health systems worldwide.

The commitments made by the Health Systems Task Force build on bold actions taken by the group to decarbonize healthcare. Task Force members, including major pharmaceutical companies, have set joint, minimum environmental targets for suppliers, focusing not only on carbon emissions but also water and waste reduction.

Governments worldwide stand at a crucial juncture, transitioning from rhetoric to tangible actions in developing concrete strategies for decarbonizing and fortifying the resilience of their health systems. Decarbonization cannot succeed in isolation; it must be part of an integrated strategy that concurrently addresses environmental sustainability, efficient resource utilization, improved patient outcomes, and reduced health inequalities. 

In this transformative journey, our founder and CEO, Nadine Zidani, has played a crucial role, serving as the Master of Ceremonies at the recent health and climate event organized by WHO, the UAE Ministry of Health & Prevention, and ATACH at COP28 UAE green zone. As we align ourselves with global efforts, we look forward to contributing to a greener, healthier future.

As a company deeply embedded in the fabric of sustainability, under Nadine’s guidance and leadership we understand the critical importance of forging partnerships that transcend boundaries. We aspire to contribute meaningfully to the global effort for a healthier and sustainable world. By aligning with health institutions, we aim to drive impactful change, demonstrating that our values extend beyond profit margins to the very heart of global well-being.

Together, let’s build a future where health and sustainability go hand in hand, with our company leading the way in transformative action.

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