The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention, in partnership with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, reaffirmed the country’s commitment to developing a health system that is resilient to the effects of climate change.
The announcement comes ahead of the 2021 Global Conference on Health & Climate Change, being organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Global Climate and Health Alliance and other partners on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, UK, in November.
The initiative builds on the UAE’s critical climate and health initiatives. It also comes as a result of the country’s offer to host COP28 in 2023, with the goal of making it as inclusive and action-oriented as possible. Given the importance of climate on human wellness, the country takes a comprehensive approach to climate action and seeks to help create a resilient ecosystem that integrates all major sectors, including healthcare.
In 2019, the UAE undertook a national climate risk assessment for the health sector as well as launched the UAE National Framework for Action on Climate Change and Health 2019-2021 in partnership with WHO.
Under the Framework, the UAE National Committee on Climate Change and Health is currently coordinating the development of a sector-specific adaptation plan. The UAE is committed to updating the climate and health vulnerability and adaptation (V&A) assessment on a regular basis and ensuring that the findings continue to inform health policies and programs.
Currently, the UAE offers a stipulated mid-day break to outdoor workers during peak summer months reflecting its response measures as heat stress grows in an already hot and humid desert climate. The Abu Dhabi government has also introduced a ‘Safety in Heat’ program that aims to reduce workplace heat exposure.
The UAE is also working towards reducing emissions from the health sector by carrying out an assessment of baseline emissions covering supply chains and developing an action plan for a low-carbon health system in line with national climate mitigation targets and Paris Agreement goals.