I was unsure of my place as a health major student at COP28. However, to my surprise, health professionals have been in the UNFCCC space for quite a while. A small health delegation has been growing over time, attending the COP conferences. There has been more emphasis on research to study the relationship between climate and health.

Since COP26, the WHO has had a Health Pavilion to spread awareness of the link. While there has never been a dedicated health agenda item at COPs, this continued health movement has led to recognizing health in the Paris Agreement and the COP27 outcome. The prospect was looking better for COP28.



COP28 has, by far, had the highest presence of health ministers, ministerial representatives, and health workers ever. This health declaration was the states’ acknowledgment of the urgency of climate action to preserve health, including strengthening policies, addressing health determinants in the climate space, and collaborating on research.

The unique part of COP28 is having the inaugural Health Day on the 3rd of December. There was a tremendous health discussion that day, and we can proudly affirm that many received the message positively. Health is a vital reason why we should commit to climate action.

Among the several tasks the health professionals were committed to performing, the Global Climate and Health Alliance was one of the leaders in advocacy. The roles involved negotiation tracking, where we could all be informed of what was happening in every thematic area. We had daily briefings to update all health delegates and identify opportunities for improvement. We also did party outreach, which involved reaching out to countries that may benefit from persuasion from a health perspective to formulate favorable positions.

COP28 was also an excellent platform for networking. There were various side events and receptions where you could meet brilliant minds worldwide working towards the same goal: a healthy climate.

Unfortunately, we saw that health did not penetrate most negotiations. Such discussions on Global Stock Take, Global Goal of Adaptation, and Fossil Fuels lacked the influence or mention of health.



The health delegation and organization did a terrific job of amplifying the intersection of health and climate at the conference. The future tasks in preparing for the next conference to ensure a healthy climate begin now, right after COP28.

We are developing health parameters for climate phenomena effectively. This will allow us to accurately monitor the progress of climate change and its interventions, with the health of the communities in consideration. We currently have National Determined Contribution and Air Pollution scorecards, which have proven effective. However, there are still more studies that need to be done.

We also aim to continue working with different countries to ensure preserving health and option favorable climate decisions. Maybe not in the next COP, but the presentation of health bodies in the negotiations may be vital.

Finally, I urge more health-related students to apply for the Duke UNFCCC course and attend the COP meetings.