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COP28: Africa Stakeholders Meet in Malawi to Deliberate on Integrating Health into Climate Agenda

In a significant effort to address the interconnection between climate change and health, stakeholders from across Africa have gathered in Malawi for a Regional Workshop on Climate Change and Health in Malawi, where the African Group of Negotiators (AGN), ministers, and various climate change and health stakeholders from the continent are gathered to develop a unified African position on health in the UNFCCC negotiations.

The event brings together policymakers, government officials, scientists, health professionals, and representatives from various sectors to explore the multifaceted relationship between climate change and human health, deliberating on ways to integrate health into the climate agenda ahead of the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) to be held in Dubai later this year.

Recognizing the urgent need to tackle the adverse effects of climate change on public health, the workshop aims to build a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by African countries and develop strategies to mitigate and adapt to these impacts.

Malawi’s health minister, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, highlighted the importance of integrating health considerations into climate change policies, with a call for escalated funding to safeguard both the health and the future of communities in the African continent.

“Climate change poses a significant threat to public health, exacerbating existing health issues and introducing new challenges. By prioritizing health in climate change action, we can ensure the well-being of our communities and build resilience against climate-related risks,” she emphasized.

“Africa has come together to advocate for a common position that transcends boundaries, resonates through diverse sectors, and rallies for escalated funding. This funding is the lifeline needed to safeguard both the health and the future of our communities,” Chiponda said.

Dr Mithika Mwenda, executive director of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, echoed the views of the Malawian health minister and flagged the gaps in funding for health.

“In the global multilateral funding systems, just 0.5 percent of funding is allocated to the health sector. In addition to this, less than half of the required needs for water, sanitation, and hygiene financing are met.

“So, there is a need to advocate for more significant funding to bridge these gaps, especially given mitigation, adaptation, loss, and damage, especially within the African context, he reminded.

CEO of AMREF Health Africa a non-profit organisation Dr Githanji Gitahi, harped on the need for integrating health into climate justice dialogue.

AMREF which is a co-host of the event calls for a paradigm shift in addressing climate justice by integrating health and climate change considerations into policies and systems.

Also in his remarks Chairperson of AGN Ephraim Mwepya Shitima called for charting a course that enhances resilience and sustainable development.

The discussions centered mainly around the link between climate change and health, particularly in Africa.
The speakers explored how these factors intersect and impact one another, underlining the need for coordinated action.

The speakers called for engaging communities, ensuring adaptation, and facilitating transparent communication as critical strategies for success toward a healthier and resilient future.

With just 100 days left for COP28, the Africa regional meeting is vital since tens of millions of Africans have been bearing the wrath of climate change in the form of heat stress, extreme weather, and increased transmission of infectious diseases, alerted the IPCC in its sixth assessment.


By Dare Akogun

Dare Akogun

Dare Akogun is a dynamic media innovator, strategic communication professional, and seasoned climate and environmental sustainability journalist with over 10 years of influential contributions to the media industry.

He Currently serving as the Head of Digital Media, Senior News Editor, and a presenter at Sobi FM 101.9, a leading radio station in Ilorin, Nigeria.

Dare is on a mission to leverage his media innovation expertise and project management skills to produce high-quality, accurate, and engaging content, while advocating for reduced fossil fuel consumption, especially coal, to combat effect of global warming.

He has covered comprehensively environmental issues and COP conferences, including COP28 in Dubai last year , COP 27 in Egypt, and the United Nations Least Developed Countries conference in Doha, in 2023.

He is a recipient of fellowship to be part of a 15 team of journalists selected worldwide to cover the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue 2024.

He has a Master's Degree in Mass Communication, from the University of Lagos, a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the Lagos State University and also a
Certification in Business Administration and Management, from the Babson College, Massachusetts, United States of America.

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