The Climate Resilient and Sustainable Health Systems TWG will bring together experts in health systems, preparedness, climate change mitigation/ adaptation, and the affected communities to promote policy-relevant action-orientated research and practice. This will support the development and implementation of evidence-based strategies that strengthen climate resilience within health systems.
“The risks associated with climate-related disasters do not represent a scenario of some distant future. They are already a reality for millions, and they are not going away” (UN political affairs chief DiCarlo). Health systems are at the forefront of climate response and are themselves vulnerable to climate hazards, through damage, destruction and/or disruption of critical infrastructure (water, energy, IT) which limits their ability to promote and protect the health of populations they serve.
Over 25% of global health care facilities already lack basic water services. The health sector is also part of the problem though and accounts for around 4.6% of global emissions. We have an unparalleled opportunity to demonstrate health sector leadership on emission reduction and contribute to national and global climate targets in line with the Paris Agreement to limit warming to 1.5oC.
COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for strengthening the ability of healthcare systems to anticipate, prevent, detect, respond, and recover from overlapping risks (e.g. climate change) in a sustainable way. As countries recover and realign policies, programs, and plans, we as health professionals have the responsibility to advocate for an inclusive, green, healthy more resilient future that enables populations to thrive.
- Establish and strengthen a dynamic community of diverse stakeholders (funders, public health researchers/educators/practitioners, decision-makers, NGOs, etc.) with an interest in generating, sharing, and applying knowledge to understand the vulnerability of and support climate resilience and sustainability within national and local healthcare systems
- Develop and drive a global research and capacity strengthening agenda around health systems strengthening and climate change impacts.
- Provide structured opportunities for HSG members and external participants for knowledge exchange and peer-to-peer support for conducting climate vulnerability and adaptation assessments (V&As) at population level and/or health care facility levels
- Promote evidence-informed practice through case studies for scaling up climate adaptation action within health systems
- Engage relevant health policy, research, and healthcare professionals to advocate health sector leadership for climate action within health systems at global, national, and local levels.
Activities of the TWG will be structured around six components (2021-25):
- National and local vulnerability/adaptation assessment
- Integrated risk monitoring · Sustainable health infrastructure
- Health workforce leadership
- Climate-informed health programmes
- Emergency preparedness (early warning for extreme weather)
These activities will be delivered through seminars, webinars, high-level panel discussions, and policy round tables. In support of capability strengthening and knowledge mobilisation, we aim to collate a repository of climate adaptation case studies within health systems globally.