“Negotiators have been negotiating with people’s lives, not just carbon emissions. They just didn’t realize it,” opined Dr. Diarmid Campell-Lendrum of the World Health Organization, as he helped open “health, relief, recovery, and peace” day.
By the end of the day, 70 states and 39 organizations backed the UAE declaration on Climate, Relief, Recovery and Peace. The Declaration includes a collective commitment to increase investment and actions to improve resilience in countries and communities affected by conflict, fragility, or humanitarian crisis.
Fifty health ministers joined the conference, focusing on the connections between health and current and future climate risks. There were calls to phase out fossil fuels to help save lives, given the health problems associated with air pollution from fossil fuel production and use. Early warning systems and early action were key themes, given the range of negative health impacts of climate change.
Understanding these impacts and planning for them require accurate and timely information about the climate system. To be used and usable, this information must be tailored to the needs of practitioners, communities, and policymakers. Earth Information Day, which also took place during the day, focused on how to achieve this goal and make climate information accessible and available to all.
A just transition, or, for some, just transitions, was a major theme in the negotiations. Throughout the day, in multiple negotiation rooms, many developing countries called for greater attention to, and support for, realizing a just transition toward a low-carbon, climate-resilient future. They called for a new section in the Global Stocktake text, which could elevate a just transition to the level of the major pillars of climate action, such as mitigation and adaptation. Ministers engaged with the idea in a high-level roundtable event.
Applause rose from the room where delegates were discussing the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage. This network aims to connect experts across different fields related to loss and damage in order to provide tailored support to developing countries vulnerable to climate change. An institutional home for the Network may have been found, a key step in making it fit for the task ahead.