New Investments to Build Climate-Resilient Communities: A Conversation at WHA 76

On the sidelines of the 76th World Health Assembly, Forecasting Healthy Futures hosted an event entitled “New Investments to Build Climate-Resilient Communities: Putting Health at the Center of the Climate Agenda.” The event, co-hosted by COP28, Reaching the Last Mile, and the Global Institute for Disease Elimination (GLIDE) sought to engage the global health community in a conversation around catalyzing innovation and mobilizing new resources for climate-resilient health systems in most vulnerable geographies ahead of COP28.

Here's what we heard:

Evidence & Response

“Weather events such as rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and natural disasters are increasing the spread of these diseases and creating new opportunities for these diseases to thrive…It is clear that the climate crisis is also a health crisis and the health crisis is a crisis with a human face.” Tala Al Ramahi, Director, Reaching the Last Mile

“WHO has been making the health argument for climate action for as long as anyone can remember, but we really want to try to make good on this now, as we lead towards COP. Moving on to the ministerial, we're going to be working with a number of countries to start designing what that looks like. This is an open call to all here, particularly to the member states, to tell us how this will be most useful and important for you.” Shahbano Tirmizi, Senior Advisor, Programmes & Partnerships, UAE Climate Change Special Envoy

Responding to Urgent Climate Health Crises

“We're one of the most affected countries by climate change…. We're in the typhoon zone…During these typhoons, access to water is linked as access to clean water is limited…So breastfeeding is disrupted, so it's all connected.” Sen. Pilar Juliana Schramm Cayetano, Senator, Philippines

“The incidences of many diseases are…expected to increase with the climate change – cholera, dysentery, malaria, typhoid, yellow fever. This has caused untold suffering and loss of livelihoods. So, governments have to be able to look at how [are you] able to invest.” Dr. Olaro Charles. Director of Curative Services, Ministry of Health, Uganda

“We are really suffering a lot from climate change because of the issues which we thought were under control: malaria…My president says we don't need a hand out, we need a hand up to different things, to do something.” Hon. Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, Minister of Health, Malawi

“I don't know whether it's the next pandemic will come from climate change, but I think the next health crisis will come from climate change, and it is kind of happening.” Peter Sands, Executive Director, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Financing Lifesaving Interventions & Resilient System Reform

“The global community is closer than ever before to overcoming some of the world's deadliest and most debilitating diseases…. But climate change poses a direct risk to this progress….At Reaching the Last Mile, we are committed to exploring innovative approaches and solutions, as well as partnerships that can prevent the effects of climate change from hindering progress on disease elimination to ensure our impact is sustainable. Our partnership on Forecasting Healthy Futures exemplifies that approach.” Tala Al Ramahi, Director, Reaching the Last Mile

“Everybody needs to be thinking about climate…This is a global village. We're supposed to be there for each other…It's like when your neighbor's house is burning. You come out. You go through the window. You don't follow protocols. And so we're saying our houses that burning as we're talking now…How do we deal with it? How do we help each other and to build resilience so that at least, you know, our people, they should not perish.” Hon. Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, Minister of Health, Malawi

“If we are going to get the change we need here, we need to win the politics.” Peter Sands, Executive Director, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“We have a major problem and even before talking about climate change, and it has to do with health spending…it's the perfect storm…We have to be putting people… at the heart of climate investments in action… So this is about health systems strengthening, about ensuring that climate is integrated within our overall health system strengthening approach” Tamer Rabie, Lead Health Specialist, World Bank

“We need new funding. We cannot leave the room on that health day [at COP28] without a clear plan. We need a financing plan.” Maria Neira, Director Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization

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