Geneva, Switzerland – The World Health Organization (WHO) has introduced a new Operational framework aimed at enhancing the resilience of health systems to climate change and reducing their carbon emissions. This initiative comes as a response to the growing impact of climate change on global health and in anticipation of the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate (COP-28).
According to Kenya News Agency, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the framework is a comprehensive guide for building health systems that can adapt to climate-related shocks while reducing their environmental footprint. Dr. Ghebreyesus emphasized the dual responsibility of health systems: to be resilient to the effects of climate change and to reduce their contributions to it. The framework provides countries with a roadmap to achieve these goals.
As global temperatures rise and extreme weather events become more frequent, the necessity for climate-resilient health systems is increasingly urgent. The WHO’s Framework presents a strategic approach to this challenge, aiming to protect and improve public health in the face of an unpredictable and changing climate. It focuses on optimizing resource use and implementing strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, all while maintaining a focus on climate resilience.
The WHO notes that the health sector is currently responsible for nearly 5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. By implementing the Framework, the health sector can lead by example, reducing emissions and enhancing the quality of care. This effort aligns with broader goals such as universal health coverage (UHC), global health security, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The development of the Framework was in response to requests from over 75 countries for WHO support in building climate-resilient and sustainable health systems. This document serves as a valuable roadmap for health organizations and authorities and is also an important resource for decision-makers in health-related sectors.
Public health agencies, policymakers, and specialized institutions can benefit from the insights and strategies outlined in this Framework. The upcoming COP-28, set to be held from November 30 to December 12 this year, will feature a dedicated Health Day within the Conference of Parties, highlighting the critical need to integrate public health priorities into climate discussions.