COP28 Side-Event: Climate Change and Mental Health: Understanding Risks and Empowering Opportunities

04 December 2023

Session Aim

To enhance understanding of the impacts of climate change on mental health by recognizing multiple risk factors, and discussing opportunities - fostering pro-environmental behavior, traditional /community approaches, AI /digitalization, and climate-resilient community planning to empower affected populations



Building on the rich discourse from the COP27 and UN Water Conference, this session will showcase various insights to enhance the understanding of the interlinkages between climate change and mental health as well as recognizing opportunities that empower affected populations, followed by a moderated panel discussion to identify complexities and vulnerability factors, and assess the gaps and needs in existing climate services to address climate adaptation, L&D schemes.

Part 1: the panelists will showcase insights regarding the impacts of climate change on mental health from perspectives of policy, practice, geographic and cultural contexts, and intersectionality of gender, age, and socio-economic status. They will also consider innovative solutions for mental health by utilizing AI/digitalization, integrating modern and traditional knowledge, and sustainable community planning.

Part 2: the panelists will discuss integrating mental health support in climate policy and existing health systems by reducing vulnerabilities, implementing community and multisectoral-based approaches, and developing climate-informed health programs. Lastly, we will explore how to enable climate change adaptation and reduce Loss and damage to create hope and opportunities to build resilience within ourselves and to engage the community and future generations in climate action.

Finally, an interactive open discussion with the audience will follow.

Session co-chair / moderator:

  • Nidhi Nagabhatla (UNU-CRIS) - Senior Fellow, and Cluster Lead -Nature, Climate and Health


Welcome note:

  • UNU: Tshilidzi Marwala - Rector of UNU and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations

Opening remarks:

  • WHO: Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum - Unit Head of Climate Change and Health

Introduction of the session, moderator, and panelists:

  • Sanae Okamoto (UNU-MERIT)

Panelists representing the Belgian Delegation and UNU-CRIS

  • Charlotte Scheerens


4 December 2023

11:30 - 13:00 GST / 08:30 - 10:00 CET

SE Room 5, Expo City Dubai