Every year, annual deaths from polluted air affect about 9 million people and 189 million people are exposed to weather-related events each year. Against this backdrop, at the COP28 climate talks on Sunday, 124 countries signed a ‘COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health’. The declaration was announced at the World Climate Action Summit, according to COP28 official website.  “The declaration was developed with the support of a number of ‘country champions’ including Brazil, Malawi, the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Kenya, Fiji, India, Egypt, Sierra Leone, and Germany,” the website says. 

“The impacts of climate change are already at our door. They have become one of the greatest threats to human health in the 21st century. Governments have now rightly recognised health as a crucial element of climate action” said COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber. 

However, the declaration has also been criticised for its inadequacies.  


Jess Beagley, Policy Lead, Global Climate & Health Campaigner, observed that the declaration is strong on many aspects but pointed out that “there is no mention of human rights despite the fact that the human right to health is embedded within the Paris Agreement and UNFCCC documentation. There is also no mention of fossil fuels despite the fact that they are the leading drivers of climate change, air pollution and, therefore, its health impacts.” 

The Conference of Parties also saw some monetary pledges. US vice-president Kamala Harris promised $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, claiming the country is “a leader in the effort to expand international climate finance”. 

Brazil launched its proposal for a global fund to protect tropical forests in up to 80 countries. The Tropical Forest Forever Facility would mobilise at least $250 billion in existing resources and pay for conserved tropical forests in member countries. 

E Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, unveiled $1.7 billion in nature conservation finance and cemented the role of nature in climate action from COP28 to COP30. E Al Mubarak also announced that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would contribute $100 million of new finance for nature-climate projects.

The COP28 Presidency on Sunday also formally unveiled endorsements of its COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate, Relief, Recovery and Peace (the Declaration), as part of its focus on accelerating global efforts to make fragile and conflicted-affected countries and communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

The declaration, which has already been endorsed by 70 governments and 39 organisations, “enshrines a collective commitment to increase investment and actions to drive resilience in countries and communities affected by conflict, fragility or humanitarian crisis.”