The World Governments Summit (WGS) 2024 showcased new policy and disbursement plans to implement the historic climate-health commitments made at COP28, with strong support from financiers to ensure sustained momentum in 2024.

The event – titled ‘Breaking Down Silos in Development Financing for Climate and Health’ and jointly convened by COP28 UAE, Reaching the Last Mile and the Office of Development at the UAE Presidential Court – followed by Health Day at COP28, which saw 148 countries sign on to a landmark political Declaration with US$1 billion of initial finance for implementation.

With an audience of government representatives, private sector leaders, global experts, and youth delegates, the session outlined priority projects and programs for the climate-health nexus, building on the ‘COP28 Guiding Principles on Financing Climate and Health Solutions’, which were endorsed by over 40 major climate and health financiers committed to impactful, equitable, and timely investment. Key speakers included Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, Malawi's Minister of Health; Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund; Ajay Tandon, Lead Economist at the World Bank and Naina Batra, CEO of Asian Venture Philanthropy Network.

In his opening remarks, COP28 UAE Chief Executive Adnan Amin said, “What we achieved at COP28, together with our partners, was historic. We must maintain this focus and accelerate efforts to make the financing required available, in line with the Guiding Principles on Financing Climate and Health Solutions which we launched with over 40 partners at COP28. Carrying forward the health legacy of COP28 in 2024 and beyond will deliver vast social and economic benefits, including through our efforts to transition away from fossil fuels and address increasingly severe climate impacts.”

Minister Chiponda emphasised the urgent need for action, stating, "We must carry forward the legacy of COP28 by translating pledges into positive outcomes." She said Malawi is committed to addressing the climate-health intersection through collaborative partnerships and strategic investments, prioritising community well-being.

"It's time to transform commitments into real benefits for the vulnerable rural African communities, who bear a disproportionate burden of climate change impacts despite minimal contributions to emissions,” she said. Highlighting the impact of climate change on Malawi’s health sector, she cited increasing instances of diseases such as cholera and malaria, disruptions to essential healthcare services, and infrastructure damage.

Peter Sands, Executive Director, The Global Fund, said, “The growing frequency of severe weather phenomena, like devastating cyclones and unexpected floods, is causing sudden spikes in diseases and fatalities. Air pollution is leading to over 7 million excess deaths per year. In countries such as Malawi, the brunt of these consequences falls on innocent people. It’s a harsh reality that those least responsible for climate change are often the first to suffer its impacts.”

He said that COP28’s achievements can lead to transformative change in global health. “By aligning our efforts with climate financing, we can accelerate progress towards achieving universal health coverage in the face of climate change. We know the climate crisis is a health crisis – and the number of human lives saved must be our North Star for ambitious climate and health action.”

COP28, under the Presidency of the UAE, was a breakthrough moment for climate and health. The significant political and financial commitments made at the COP28 in December marked a global first in recognising the urgent need to protect human health and invest in resilient and inclusive health systems.

‘Protecting Lives and Livelihoods’ is one of four central pillars in the COP28 Presidency’s Action Agenda which focuses on people, nature, lives and livelihoods. It emphasises the urgent need to limit climate change and protect humans by accelerating the energy transition away from fossil fuels, whilst building the energy system of tomorrow, increasing resilience to climate change and reducing climate-related health risks.