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NIHR Chief Executive Professor Lucy Chappell attends COP28 Health Day

COP28 news story 2023

Published: 04 December 2023

NIHR Chief Executive Professor Lucy Chappell attended COP28 in Dubai on Sunday 3 December, in her role as Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Professor Chappell accompanied Minister Andrew Stephenson CBE at ministerial meetings and roundtable events on the first ever Health Day at COP.

She also met with NIHR-funded global health researchers, and promoted NIHR’s work to tackle the impacts of climate change on health.

This event marked a ground-breaking shift in commitment as for the first time the health implications of climate change were prominent in UN climate talks.

The first Health Day culminated in an historic milestone with 124 countries endorsing the Declaration of Climate and Health. This declaration calls for climate action to achieve rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, transition to sustainable healthy diets and lower air pollution.

NIHR Climate and Health Research

Three UK research calls on climate and health are currently open, as part of a wider programme of work from NIHR on sustainability, climate change and net zero:

In addition, NIHR is investing over £20 million in research to strengthen health service delivery and resilience in low and middle income countries (LMICs) in the context of extreme weather events. Projects in countries across Africa and Asia will be announced later this month, and start work early next year.

This research will generate crucial evidence to support policy makers in LMICs to strengthen the responsiveness and resilience of health services provision during and after climate-change induced events. These include flooding, extreme heat and disease outbreaks caused by extreme weather.

Professor Chappell met with researchers from the NIHR Global Health Research Unit - CleanAir-Africa, which is working with the governments of Kenya, Cameroon and Ghana to tackle lethal household air pollution.

NIHR is working closely with other funders, and the NHS, to collectively drive transformative changes within the research system to ensure sustainable and equitable research for the future.

Prof. Chappell said: “We urgently need to address the emerging disease patterns driven by climate change, including vector- and water-borne diseases, emerging and new disease outbreaks and increased burden of chronic conditions such as respiratory conditions and mental health.

“We also need to develop the evidence base to support countries, including the UK, to build low carbon, climate resilient health systems. The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is investing in research to help address these issues.”

Read more about climate change and sustainability at NIHR

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