Pope Francis to miss COP28 event in Dubai due to health concerns

World Wednesday 29/November/2023 12:11 PM
Pope Francis to miss COP28 event in Dubai due to health concerns

Dubai: Amidst health concerns, Pope Francis has cancelled his trip to the United Nations climate summit event being held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Vatican News reported.

A statement released on Tuesday evening by the Holy See Press Office said, "Even though the Holy Father's general health situation has improved in relation to the flu and respiratory tract inflammation he has been suffering from, his doctors have asked the Pope not to undertake his scheduled visit to Dubai in the coming days, on the occasion of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change."

The 86-year-old Pope was scheduled to leave on Friday, December 1 to address the Conference of the Parties (COP28), in Expo city, Dubai on Saturday; his attendance would have made him the first pontiff to address a UN climate conference. On Sunday, the supreme pontiff was set to inaugurate a faith pavilion on the sidelines of the event.

In order to facilitate the Pope's recovery, some important engagements scheduled for these days have been postponed, Vatican News reported.

Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni said Francis's health was improving after the flu and inflammation of his respiratory tract forced him to cancel his audiences.

According to the Vatican statement, the pope agreed not to travel "with great regret." The statement added that it would look into ways that the leader of the world's Roman Catholics could contribute to the climate discussions remotely.

COP is the primary decision-making body of The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), established in 1992.

Representatives of 197 countries who have signed or are "parties" to the UNFCCC will participate primarily through debates and negotiations.

Some of the notable figures who have confirmed their attendance so far include, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Britain's King Charles III and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak.

US President Joe Biden is not expected to attend but the country will be represented by top officials such as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.