By Haruna Gimba
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Kingdom government have launched a new health and climate change platform to support countries’ efforts to implement commitments they made at last year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to achieve resilient and low carbon, sustainable health systems.
The Alliance for Transformative Action on Climate Change and Health (ATACH), will act as a platform to bring together government institutions that have signed on to the COP26 Health Programme and relevant partner organizations to coordinate efforts, exchange knowledge and best practices.
The alliance will also build networks and access to technical and financial support, link up existing initiatives, tackle common challenges, and monitor global progress.
Currently, 60 countries have formally committed, at Minister of Health level, to at least one of the initiatives on climate resilient and low carbon sustainable health systems promoted under the COP26 Health Programme.
“This new alliance is intended to sustain the momentum and advance action on climate change and health at country level, to help countries bridge the gap between commitments and implementation as a first priority,” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health.
“Resilient healthcare systems are absolutely crucial to successful adaptation to climate change in any scenario, while also playing an essential role in low-carbon sustainable development and greening supply chains. The health sector is ready to lead by example”
The main objectives of the alliance are to drive and sustain progress and ambition on resilient and low carbon health systems (and their supply chains).
It aims to encourage more countries to make commitments and increase ambition; elevate the agenda in both health and climate spaces, promoting innovation and solutions to overcome global constraints to achieving the goals of the COP26 Health Programme.
It will also support the development and strengthening of the current and emerging evidence and knowledge base, health arguments for climate change action to inform advocacy, planning and implementation.
Action-oriented working groups will be set up to explore and seek solutions to strategic priorities, based on insights and demand from members. The first four working groups are likely to focus on:
A steering group, made up of representatives from each of the working groups and the co-conveners, will support WHO in defining the strategic direction of the alliance, build synergies across the working groups while promoting a dynamic response to emerging priorities, opportunities and challenges.
Health Reporters learnt that the WHO will act as secretariat to the alliance.