Reaching the Last Mile to convene global health leaders at COP28
Reaching the Last Mile, the global health initiative driven by the philanthropy of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, will convene the world’s most influential health leaders at COP28 to announce new commitments and partnerships in support of climate-health action.
The 2023 Reaching the Last Mile Forum will take place on Sunday December 3 within the COP28 Health Day. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, and in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it will act to galvanize new momentum towards mitigating the effects of the climate crisis on human health.
The one-day event will gather ministers, global health and development leaders, philanthropists, and advocates to highlight the importance of addressing the public health impacts of climate change, and the implications for infectious disease transmission.
The forum will also provide a platform for significant new announcements in support of eliminating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and building sustainable health systems that leave no one behind.
His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Office of Development Affairs at the Presidential Court, which oversees Reaching the Last Mile, said: “Climate change threatens to undermine decades of improvements in human health, impacting the wellbeing of people worldwide. To continue to make progress against preventable diseases, and save and improve lives, we must work together to ensure health is central to the climate agenda.”
He continued: “Under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE is committed to safeguarding global health gains against the effects of climate change. We look forward to uniting with partners at the Reaching the Last Mile Forum to explore new solutions, share ideas, and to answer the call made by COP28 for tangible commitments towards a healthier future.”
Climate change represents one of the greatest challenges to human health. Rising temperatures and weather patterns are causing infectious diseases to spread further and faster, straining health systems and fuelling outbreaks. Extreme weather events contribute directly to humanitarian emergencies, and areas with weak health infrastructure are the least able to respond.
The World Bank estimates that 132 million people may be forced into extreme poverty by 2030 due to climate change. One-third are the result of climate-related health risks disproportionately affecting the poorest and most vulnerable people.
The Reaching the Last Mile Forum will see expert speakers and guests explore how best to strengthen health systems and workforces to defend against climate and health shocks, and extend care to the hardest-to-reach communities.
Through panels and speeches, attendees will discuss new tools and interventions, integrated approaches, and highlight innovative financing models able to take climate-health solutions to scale.
Confirmed speakers include Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, World Health Organization; H.E. Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, UAE; H.E. Sheikh Shakhbout bin Nahyan Al Nahyan, Minister of State; H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the former President of Liberia and founder of the EJS Presidential Center; H.E. Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment; Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund; Dr Jean Kaseya, Director General, Africa CDC; H.E. Dr Maha Barakat, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Health, UAE; Sir Christopher Hohn, Founder, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation; Amit Bouri, CEO and cofounder, Global Impact Investing Network; and Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa; in addition to senior UAE leadership.
Reaching the Last Mile reflects His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed’s commitment to combating preventable diseases that affect the world’s most marginalized communities, and is a leading funder to global efforts to end polio, malaria, and NTDs.