Speech at the COP28 Climate and Health Ministerial meeting by Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal
Thank you very much madame chair, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.
The impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss are being acutely felt by people around the world, not least our health and health systems are being affected directly and indirectly.
Extreme weather is an especially deadly phenomena. For example, the heat killed more than 60,000 Europeans between May and November 2022. Climate change and environmental degradation are also increasing the spread of infectious diseases.
The Health and Climate Ministerial Meeting is an excellent opportunity to bolster international cooperation in this area. Adopting today's COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health is an important first step. I am pleased to announce the European Union's endorsement of the Declaration.
We must now turn our ambition into reality, by scaling up the investments and strengthening the synergies between climate change adaptation and mitigation, and health.
The European Union is a strong proponent of prevention and preparedness to ensure better protection from climate and environmental threats.
One of our key instruments for this is our 2022 Regulation on Serious Cross-Border Threats, which enhances the European Union's capacities in prevention, preparedness, monitoring and response planning. And with the creation of the Health Emergency and Preparedness Authority (HERA) we have enhanced our preparedness and response capacity to cross-border health threats as well.
In addition, we have set out a comprehensive approach to mental health, addressing environmental and climate change effects. These initiatives form a part of the European Commission's ‘One Health' approach to prevent, predict, detect and respond to global threats to the health of humans, animals and the environment, and to promote sustainable development at the European Union and global level.
We are also seeking to boost health security around the world through our global health strategy. The strategy introduces a robust ‘health in all policies approach' to ensure that our actions in areas such as climate change and food security contribute to health goals.
To conclude, I would like to underline that the European Union stands ready to work with its international partners on these important issues.
There is still a long way to go. But the solutions are in reach. And thanks to our collaboration and joint efforts, I believe that the transformative change that we need is more than possible.