RIGA - Climate change mainly affects the most vulnerable groups - young children, the elderly, people with chronic diseases or disabilities, people with low incomes, Health Minister Hosams Abu Meri stressed at the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference COP28.
The Health Ministry informed LETA that the UN Climate Change Conference took place in Dubai for two weeks, and on December 3, health ministers participated in the conference, underscoring the impact of climate change on human health.
Abu Meri drew attention to the fact that around one in ten premature deaths in Europe is linked to environmental pollution. He pointed to the need for concrete measures to mitigate the impact of climate change on health. For example, one aspect is the fight against antimicrobial resistance, which is a serious threat to public health, exacerbated by climate change. Latvia has already started work in this respect.
The minister also noted the need to take care of public health in a climate-friendly way by improving energy efficiency in hospitals and implementing sustainable waste management. The public should also be informed about the impact of climate on health and ways to mitigate it.
During his visit, the health minister met with the minister of health of the United Arab Emirates and invited him to Latvia, as well as the health ministers of the Netherlands, Malta, Macedonia and Cyprus, and attended a meeting of climate and health ministers and a reception hosted by the Latvian Embassy.
During the conference, Latvia also joined the COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health, which outlines both the health risks of climate change and the way forward to mitigate these risks.