COP 20 Diary: Draft texts on the table

Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Europe's Climate Policy and Membership Officer Kornelia Bagi is in Lima, Peru for the UN Climate Conference (COP 20). Read Part II of her COP 20 Diary below. Parts I and III are also now available online.

8 December 2014

Second week of negotiations kick off with draft texts on the table

The second week of the climate talks in Lima have taken a faster pace with the release of the two main documents early on Monday morning. These included a revised draft decision and revised elements for a draft negotiating text

The draft decision text is expected to be more challenging for the negotiators. It sets out requirements and processes for countries' individual contributions to the 2015 deal, plus it defines the next steps towards closing the pre-2020 ambition gap. It also has health relevance as Article 28 (a) refers to health co-benefits (just a quick reminder from yesterday) in relation to the workplan on enhancing mitigation ambition with a view to closing the pre-2020 ambition gap. 

Health highlight of the day

The World Health Organization held its side event ‘Protecting Health, Fighting Climate Change’ in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund and the Peruvian Ministry of Health on Monday afternoon. 

Speakers from the WHO, IMF, the Green Climate Fund, the World Bank and the French Government discussed the new strategic direction and programmatic initiatives on health resilience to climate. It also showcased opportunities for maximising health benefits of a low-carbon future. 

While we often get the impression that health is somewhat neglected during the climate talks, Dr Maria Neira, Director of Public Health, Social and Environmental Determinants of Health (WHO) reminded participants that all the discussions here feed through health, given that one of the most important reasons behind climate action is to prevent further damage to public health. 

The outcome of the COP 21 conference in Paris next year will strongly affect our health. Therefore we can’t wait any longer to raise the profile of health in the context of climate change. 

The WHO has identified the possible courses for action. In order to have an adequate health response to climate change, the sector needs to: 

  • Put more effort into advocacy (at all levels, including the global climate talks)

  • Continue showcasing evidence on the impact of climate change on health

  • Implement measures to promote resilience and mitigation

  • Form partnerships with different stakeholders (including civil society).

The reference to health co-benefits and the engagement of different stakeholders, including authorities, intergovernmental organizations, and civil society among others, stipulated in the revised draft decision is a good starting point but further action is needed to build on this momentum. 

What’s next in Lima? 

The high-level segment, with the participation of Heads of State and Heads of Government (HoSG), ministers and other heads of delegations, started on Tuesday morning. Their statements, including those on behalf of the EU by the Italian Presidency and Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete, were heard later that day. National Statements will continue through Wednesday and the segment will conclude on the afternoon of Thursday with statements by inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations. Read about these developments and more in the next part of my COP 20 Diary. 

— Kornelia Bagi

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