Forecasting Healthy Futures Hosts Inaugural Summit on Climate & Health

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, March 16, 2023 – Forecasting Healthy Futures, in partnership with Reaching the Last Mile, this week hosted the inaugural Forecasting Healthy Futures Global Summit in Abu Dhabi.

Amid growing concerns about the adverse effects of climate change on human health and disease control and elimination efforts, the Summit brought together a diverse group of nearly 200 leaders representing 140 organizations and more than 40 countries from government, private sector, NGOs, global finance institutions and higher education with the goal of moving the global health community toward proactive solutions and substantial financing for climate-adaptive health strategies ahead of COP28 in Dubai later this year.

WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, opened the Global Summit on Tuesday: “The climate crisis affects all of us so all of us must work together to respond across borders and across sectors to build a healthier, fairer and more sustainable future for all of us.”  

Martin Edlund, CEO of Malaria No More, and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization address the Forecasting Healthy Futures Global Summit.

Marina Romanello, Executive Director of the Lancet Countdown for Climate and Health Action, then provided a keynote address, detailing the ways in which climate change is jeopardizing the lives and livelihoods of millions around the world. She noted, “Climate change is about us, our health, and our future… We have to do what the World Health Organization named as primary prevention: mitigate against rising temperatures and reduce pressures on our health systems.”

The Lancet Countdown's Executive Director, Marina Romanello, (via video) discusses the latest report from the Lancet Countdown and how it furthers the case for transitioning away from fossil fuels.

“Given the high and growing impact of climate change on the health and wellbeing of our societies, COP28 has identified health as a priority and is committed to advancing the integration of the health and climate agendas and mainstreaming health, from air pollution to communicable diseases," His Excellency Majid Al-Suwaidi, Director General of COP28, said in a keynote address to the summit.

“We must work together to ensure that this is a COP of solidarity, which bridges the global North and South and brings in all stakeholders including the private sector, scientists, civil society, Indigenous peoples, women, and youth, leaving no-one behind. Through an inclusive approach, we hope COP28 can find solutions, and outcomes, across healthcare, mitigation, adaptation, loss, and damage.”

His Excellency Majid Al-Suwaidi, Director General COP28, announced that the upcoming COP28 summit will dedicate an entire day to Health - and highlighting the links between climate change and health, and to pushing real action that mitigates these risks.

Sessions throughout the 3-day Summit covered:

  • Strategies to build climate-resilient health systems
  • High impact climate-adaptive health interventions
  • Predictive AI for effective disease control and elimination
  • Health sector investment opportunities for climate adaptation funds

“Climate adaptation must begin with health, and with building equitable and resilient healthcare systems that can protect the most vulnerable. At Reaching the Last Mile, we know first-hand how innovation and committed partnership can drive transformative action in support of better global health outcomes – and this approach is needed now,” said Tala Al-Ramahi, Co-Chair of the FHF Global Summit Steering Committee and a Director of Reaching the Last Mile. “Building on the progress made here at the Forecasting Healthy Futures Global Summit, and in the lead-up to COP28, we must seize the opportunity to elevate health in the climate agenda, and to catalyze global expertise, innovation, and finance to ensure no country or community is left behind.”

Since its launch in 2020, Forecasting Healthy Futures, a consortium of leading health and technology organizations convened by Malaria No More with seed funding provided by Reaching the Last Mile, has worked to drive innovation and investment in new strategies and technologies to protect global health gains from the impacts of climate change.

In January 2022, Forecasting Healthy Futures launched the Institute for Malaria and Climate Solutions (IMACS), a global institute committed to supporting malaria elimination efforts through the use of increasingly sophisticated prediction and planning tools, and the technical assistance and supportive policies needed to help governments use them to counter the volatile effects of global warming and extreme weather events.

Martin Edlund, Malaria No More CEO, discusses the impacts of climate change on infectious diseases, including malaria, during the Forecasting Healthy Futures Global Summit 2023.

“Extreme weather events are followed by extreme health events, while gradual climate changes are expanding the burden of water-borne, mosquito-borne, and pulmonary disease, intensifying heat stress, and putting new pressures on already frayed health systems,” said Martin Edlund, Chief Executive Officer for Malaria No More. “Forecasting Healthy Futures is demonstrating that scalable, investible solutions exist to protect the health of the most vulnerable people and communities in the context of climate change.”

In a panel discussion entitled, "Financing Climate Preparedness in the Health Sector: New Solutions to Resourcing," Peter Sands, Executive Director of The Global Fund, discussed investing in building climate resilient health systems.

“We know that climate change will increasingly damage people’s health and will hit the poorest the hardest. It is already hampering efforts to eradicate the world’s deadliest diseases, for example where the increase in flooding attracts mosquitoes, leaving more women and children vulnerable to malaria,” noted Peter Sands, Executive Director of The Global Fund. “As countries grapple with limited health budgets, it’s critical that climate adaptations include investing in building climate resilient health systems.”               

“In order to fully address the tremendous health challenges caused by climate change, we must stimulate innovation to test and scale new solutions. Doing so will require philanthropic, public sector and private sector capital working in concert to create and scale effective climate adaptations,” said Dr. Neil Buddy Shah, CEO of the Clinton Health Access Initiative. “It’s time we break down siloes and encourage aligned efforts and collaboration between the private, non-profit and public sectors.”

“New tools and approaches, and smarter use of current tools will be key for building climate-smart systems that adapt to current and emerging diseases and shifting disease habitats. It will take leaders from across disciplines and sectors working together to stay ahead of the global health challenges posed by a changing climate,” Trevor Mundel, Global Health President for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation told summit participants in a video.

“Even though climate change is universally impacting human health, fortunately, AI is uniquely positioned to help mitigate those negative impacts,” said Dr. Hosni Ghedira, Director of Research Engagement at Mohamed bin Zayed University for Artificial Intelligence. “Through the use of AI, innovation and technology are significantly bolstering efforts across climate research to detect, adapt and respond to climate change across many sectors.”

For more information on Forecasting Healthy Futures, visit www.ForecastingHealthyFutures.org and explore photos from the Summit here.

Kelly Willis of Malaria No More & Tala Al Ramahi of Reaching the Last Mile, welcome attendees of the Forecasting Healthy Futures Global Summit.
Hear from The Lancet Countdown's Executive Director, Marina Romanello, on why the latest report from the Lancet Countdown furthers the case for transitioning away from fossil fuels.
Watch panelists Martin Muchangi, Director of Population Health & Environment at AMREF and Felipe J Cólon-González, Technology Lead for Data for Science and Health of the Wellcome Trust. Moderated by Malaria No More CEO, Martin Edlund.
His Excellency Majid Al Suwaidi, Director General for the upcoming COP28, addresses the Forecasting Healthy Futures Summit for, "Inviting Solutions and Real Action" where he announced a health day for the upcoming COP28 conference hosted in the UAE.
Hear from Dr. Kimberly Humphrey, Harvard C-CHANGE Climate Change and Human Health Fellow, on Harvard Medical School's announcement in January to integrate climate change into its curriculum.
In a panel discussion entitled, "Climate Resilience in Public Health Systems: Essential Building Blocks," moderator Nino Kharaishvili discusses resilient health systems with panelists Mazen Al-Malkawi, Montira Pngsiri, and Ahmed Elsayed.
In a discussion entitled, "Two Sides of One Coin: Reimagining Healthcare Resilience and Net Zero Roadmaps," panelists Jane Black and Gabrielle Sobel of Jacobs engage on reversing climate change and improving health resilience.
In a panel discussion entitled, "Climate threats to malaria and NTD control & elimination programs: progress at risk," panelists Joelle Tanguy of DNDi, Do Trung Dung of the Veitnam National Institute of Malariology, and Hendricks Mgodie of the Malawi Ministry of Health, moderated by Priy Kanayson of GLIDE, discuss what can be done to build donor coalitions, accelerate the development of new therapies, and identify new solutions in endemic country health systems.
In a session entitled, "Public Private Partnership - Data Philanthropy for Climate Preparedness," James Golden, Chief Data Officer, Rockefeller Foundation, discusses the need for accurate and accessible risk forecast systems.
In a session entitled, "Climate Readiness, Resilience and Response: AI for Disease Prediction & Planning" moderated by Kelly Willis, panelists Hosni Ghedira, Hammam Riza, & Richard Maude explore the questions: What are some of the emerging data sources which might improve the accuracy of AI-driven models? Can they help optimize prevention programs, allocate adaptation investment, and prevent the next pandemic?
In a panel discussion entitled, "On the Ground Innovations for Climate-Resilient Communities," moderator Bill Pan of Duke University discusses with panelists Swati Mahajan of PATH South Asia and James Colburn of Clinton Health Access Initiative the question: How can environmental initiatives, economic activity, NGOs, and civil society contribute to climate-change mitigation and better-prepared communities?
In a session entitled, "Adaptation Funding for Health: Intersectoral partnership for national climate resilience," panelists explore the questions: How can evidence of harm and risk be generated in the absence of established norms and reliable data sources? Which sectors need to be engaged to design interventions that meet the diverse needs of communities at risk, while avoiding unintended consequences?
Moderator Benjamin Krause, Executive Director of the Development Innovation Lab, engaged panelists in a session entitled, "Solution Spotlight: Safe drinking water against rapidly mounting obstacles."
Michael Kremer – Nobel Laureate and Professor of Economics, University of Chicago
Vini Mahajan – Secretary, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, India
Farid Fezoua – Director, Health & Education, International Finance Corporation
Malaria No More's CEO Martin Edlund Moderates a panel with The Global Fund Executive Director Peter Sands and Founder of World Bank Health, Climate & Environment Program, Tamer Rabie to explore the topic of how massive changes in the way climate adaptation funds are spent will be required to effectively build climate-resilient health systems.
Solutions Spotlight: Innovative Incentives to Shape a Healthier Market for Essential Cooling
Solutions Spotlight: Novel Technology to Improve Disease Control Cost-Effectiveness
Private Sector Catalysts: Strategic Investments to Unlock Innovation and Inform Climate Adaptation


About Forecasting Healthy Futures

Forecasting Healthy Futures is a global coalition of leading health and technology organizations committed to mobilizing the political will, financial resources, and innovative solutions needed to protect global health gains from the threats posed by climate change. Malaria No More convenes and leads the consortium. Forecasting Health Futures’ partners include Reaching the Last Mile, Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, the Global Institute for Disease Elimination (GLIDE), PATH, the Tableau Foundation, IBM’s Weather Company, and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). For more information, visit: www.ForecastingHealthyFutures.org.

About Malaria No More

Malaria No More envisions a world where no one dies from a mosquito bite. More than a decade into our mission, our work has contributed to historic progress toward this goal. Now, we’re mobilizing the political commitment, funding, and innovation required to achieve what would be one of the greatest humanitarian accomplishments – ending malaria within our generation. For more information, visit www.MalariaNoMore.org.

For media inquiries, please contact: Mindy Mizell | Malaria No More, Sr Manager Media Relations & Communications, mindy.mizell@malarianomore.org |+1.202.355.3690

About Reaching the Last Mile

Reaching the Last Mile (RLM) is a portfolio of global health programs working towards disease elimination that is driven by the personal commitment of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, President of the United Arab Emirates. The Initiative provides treatment and preventative care in communities that lack access to quality health services, with a specific focus on reaching the last mile of disease elimination. RLM’s mission represents His Highness’s dedication to ending preventable diseases that affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities and helping millions of children and adults live healthy, dignified lives. For more information, visit: https://www.ReachingTheLastMile.com

For media inquiries, please contact: Sharan Sunner | Seven Media, on behalf of Reaching the Last Mile, sharansunner@sevenmedia.ae | +971 (0)55 698 4327

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