Mahmoud Mohieldin, the UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, stressed that the relation between public health and climate action is a reciprocal one in terms of what the health sector can do within the framework of climate action policies. This comes in line with the holistic approach adopted by the COP27 presidency where climate action is not reduced to decarbonisation. Rather, climate action priorities are dealt with within the framework of sustainable development goals, which contributes to empowering economies and societies.
This came during his speech during a discussion session on the relationship between climate change and public health and its impact on the economies of countries, where the climate champion stressed the need to achieve a balance between the file of climate change and public health so that resources are not directed to the health sector at the expense of climate action, especially in light of the Corona pandemic.
Mohieldin referred to the UN report that indicates between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year. He also stressed the need to develop health care systems and promote comprehensive health insurance systems as about 930 million people around the world incurred catastrophic health spending as they dedicated at least 10 percent of their household budgets to pay for health care out of their own pockets.
The climate champion also pointed to the need to develop the health sector taking into account environmental considerations, bearing in mind that the healthcare sector contributes approximately 4.4% of net harmful emissions.
Mohieldin also praised the role played by the World Health Organization in this regard. He pointed out that it has its own pavilion at the climate summit over a period of two weeks. This comes in addition to a number of initiatives between the organization and a number of concerned ministries.
Regarding the priorities of the upcoming climate summit, Mohieldin stressed that this summit aims to fulfil the pledges through application, investment and projects.
The climate champion explained the need to integrate the regional dimension into climate action, especially in light of the sharp decline in international cooperation, which requires strengthening health cooperation through regional channels in order to avoid the potential health crises.
With regard to the localization of climate action, Mohieldin referred to the unprecedented initiative launched by the Egyptian government, the National Initiative for Smart Green Projects, as this initiative redraws investment maps in the governorates. According to Mohieldin, the number of submitted projects exceeded 6,000 projects.
Mohieldin concluded his speech by stressing the need to enhance climate finance as no implementation can take place without finance.