In December, the latest international climate negotiations at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) made headlines around the world, as expected – but, as UNU-MERIT researcher Sanae Okamoto argues in an op-ed written for The Japan Times, two major achievements of this year’s conference went largely unnoticed by the press. Firstly, the topic of health was brought to the fore – with the first-ever Health Day featured in a COP programme – and secondly, the presence and engagement of youth delegates was given a significant boost by various new initiatives seeking to support and provide more visibility to younger generations.
Despite these important milestones, there is still much progress to be made. As Okamoto states in her article: “Once COP28 ended, the health community was critical of the summit for not committing to a crucial phase-out of fossil fuels and for failing to set robust adaptation targets to build resilient systems for vulnerable populations. Youth activists were similarly dismayed. However, the growing power of these groups is, to me, a sign of promising developments on the horizon.”
Read the full article here.
We’re finally recognizing climate change’s mental health toll was published in The Japan Times (online and in print) on 24 January 2024, written by Sanae Okamoto.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.