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COP 27

5 November, 2022

The 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 27) is welcoming some 25,000 delegates this weekend 'to build on previous successes and pave the way for future ambition to effectively tackle the global challenge of climate change', startin tomorrow in Sharm El Sheikh International Convention Centre, Egypt.

On behalf of HIFA I send warm wishes to everyone for a successful outcome; in particular Hari Govind, HIFA's global coordinator for supporting organisations, who will have arrived from Coimbatore, India, and any other HIFA members who may be present.

We look forward to hearing your observations and reflections. Please email: hifa@hifaforums.org

There are several aspects/questions that are especially relevant to HIFA:

1. The first is to ask: Does the world's population have true access to and understanding of climate change, its causes, and its devastating impact on health, both now and especially in the future?

2. A related question is: What is the level of wawareness among the populations of low- and middle-income countries. The countries that are affected most by climate change are those that have contributed least. Are people aware of this injustice?

3. Popular awareness and knowledge of climate change is a necessary contributor to governmental and intergovernmental action. What is known about beliefs and attitudes to climate change across different countries?

4. What can be done to increase the availability and use of reliable information on climate change and its impact on health, and to protect people from misinformation?

5. 'According to the firm's calculations, the three-day summit [COP 26] in June resulted in emissions of 20,960 tCO2e, nearly 5,000 tCO2e more than the initial baseline estimate. The majority of the emissions were associated with international air travel (40 per cent) and accommodation (30 per cent).' I understand that the average UK citizen emits 7 tCO2e in a year (far higher than most LMICs). So COP 26 emitted the equivalent of the total carbon emissions of 3000 UK citizens *for a whole year*. Don't misunderstand me, I fully support the need for COP 27 to meet physically and to bring people from all over the world. But this is not the case for the vast majority of international conferences. There are too many of them and we are not investing nearly enough in virtual communications. In particular, we are not investing enough in the potential of virtual communities of practice. Unlike videoconferences, communities of practice support communication 24/7/365. They should be used to bridge and complement physical conferences. (I acknowledge here the importance also of journals such as The Lancet Planetary Health which support academic discourse.)

6. Is there a dynamic community of practice for climate change and health? A community like HIFA that supports discussions around the issues and that is open to all with an interest?

I look forward to hear your views.

Best wishes, Neil

Let's build a future where every person has access to reliable healthcare information and is protected from misinformation - Join HIFA: www.hifa.org

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health movement (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. HIFA brings stakeholders together to accelerate progress towards universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK based non-profit in official relations with the World Health Organization.

Twitter: @hifa_org neil@hifa.org