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India’s Concerns Lead to Non-Signing of COP28 Health & Climate Declaration

India, a notable absentee from the list of signatories at the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), refrained from endorsing the COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health. The primary point of contention arises from India’s apprehensions about the practicality and achievability of reducing greenhouse gas emissions for cooling within its healthcare infrastructure.

Health Day Participation

Despite India’s overall support for the ministerial event hosted by COP28 Presidency, the World Health Organisation, and the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, the Health Day witnessed no participation from the Indian Health Ministry delegation.

Declaration Overview

The COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health, signed by 124 countries, underscores the imperative for urgent and substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. It outlines various measures to achieve health benefits through climate action, such as just transitions, lower air pollution, active mobility, and shifts to sustainable healthy diets.

India’s Healthcare Infrastructure Concerns

India, facing significant healthcare challenges, expressed reservations about committing to the reduction of greenhouse gases for cooling applications within its healthcare facilities. The delegate from Kenya highlighted India’s concern that such measures could impede its ability to meet the escalating demands for medical services, especially in remote and underserved areas.

India’s G20 Emphasis

India’s G20 declaration previously prioritized resilient health, focusing on building robust healthcare systems, improving access to medical countermeasures, and fostering international collaboration for digital goods sharing.

Holistic Approach to Climate Change Impacts on Health

The COP28 Declaration emphasizes a holistic approach to address the diverse health challenges posed by climate change. This includes mental health considerations, preservation of traditional medicinal knowledge, protection of livelihoods and cultures, and managing climate-induced displacement and migration.

Combatting Inequalities and Achieving SDGs

A central objective of the declaration is a commitment to combating inequalities within and among countries. It stresses policies that accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG3, focusing on good health and well-being.

Carbon Footprint Acknowledgment

The declaration recognizes the carbon footprint of health systems and encourages steps to reduce emissions and waste in the health sector. This involves assessing greenhouse gas emissions, establishing decarbonization targets, and implementing procurement standards to promote sustainable practices within the health sector.

Important Questions Related in Exams

Q: Why did India refrain from signing the COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health?

A: India expressed concerns that reducing greenhouse gas emissions for cooling within its healthcare infrastructure might hinder its ability to meet the growing demands for medical services, especially in remote and underserved areas.

Q: What was the significance of the Health Day at COP28, and why did the Indian Health Ministry delegation not participate?

A: The Health Day at COP28 aimed to address the intersection between climate change and global health. Despite India extending support, the Indian Health Ministry delegation did not participate, and the specific reasons for their absence were not explicitly stated.

Q: What are the key objectives of the COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health?

A: The declaration calls for global climate action to achieve health benefits through substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. It emphasizes just transitions, lower air pollution, active mobility, and shifts to sustainable healthy diets.

Q: What were the major points of contention outlined in the draft of the COP28 Declaration?

A: A significant point of contention was the commitment to reducing greenhouse gases for cooling applications within healthcare infrastructure. India found this challenging to implement, citing difficulties in compliance, particularly within its existing healthcare infrastructure.

Q: How does the COP28 Declaration address the broader impacts of climate change on health?

A: The declaration takes a holistic approach, considering mental health, preservation of traditional medicinal knowledge, protection of livelihoods and cultures, and dealing with climate-induced displacement and migration.

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