Time to Adapt: Accelerating Climate Adaptation for Health Equity—Catalyzing Solutions for Community Action
The impacts of climate change on global health are unfolding at a distressing pace. Compromised food systems, widespread water shortages, and pollution are mounting pressure on primary healthcare infrastructure and deteriorating health outcomes globally. Furthermore, low- and middle-income countries, despite having a minimal contribution to the global carbon footprint, are bearing the most severe consequences of these interconnected challenges.
Addressing health effects caused by climate change will require collective mobilization, particularly with respect to funding. The health sector has not been a target of climate financing, with a negligible fraction of global health funding aligning with climate adaptation. A growing, multi-stakeholder push to rethink the global financial architecture, however, presents an opportunity to integrate issues of health equity and health system resilience into broader climate action plans more directly.
Against this backdrop, the Collective Minds Climate Council, convened by Foundation S and the Africa-Europe Foundation, has developed the action report, Time to Adapt: Accelerating Climate Adaptation for Health Equity—Catalyzing Solutions for Community Action, with support from Management Sciences for Health (MSH), to spotlight the health challenges posed by climate change and advance the conversation on the financing required to support climate adaptation to achieve health equity. It calls attention to the urgent need to elevate local adaptation in the climate discourse, highlight the connection between climate change and health, and prioritize locally led adaptation in building health resilience to climate change.
The report calls on the global community to act at speed and scale to address the climate–health emergency.
Increase the health resilience of local communities by:
- Putting local communities at the center of decision-making
- Building and applying evidence of local solutions
- Channeling flexible financing directly to communities
- Fostering an enabling environment for local adaptation
Act swiftly to address the climate–health emergency by:
- Prioritizing local solutions driven by communities
- Breaking silos for local action with lasting impact
- Supporting a resilient local health workforce and its infrastructure
- Catalyzing flexible financing for local communities
Climate Council Members
- Dr. Awa Marie Coll-Seck (Minister of State for the Republic of Senegal; Galien Forum Africa)
- Dr. Alan Dangour (The Wellcome Foundation)
- Nathalie Delapalme (Mo Ibrahim Foundation)
- Maryam Hassimi (Foundation S)
- Dr. Vanessa Kerry (Seed Global Health)
- Vanina Laurent-Ledru (Foundation S)
- Jack Leslie (Duke University)
- Anil Soni (WHO Foundation)
- Dr. Agnés Soucat (Division of Health and Social Protection, Agence Françise de Développement)
- Elhadj As Sy (Kofi Annan Foundation)
- Paul Walton (Africa-Europe Foundation)
MSH’s approach focuses on improving local readiness and agency. We advocate for and support investments in primary health care systems and policies that advance universal health coverage and engage governments and communities to demand greater accountability.
These materials are an outcome of a year-long dialogue of the Foundation S Collective Minds Climate Council, convened by Foundation S and the Africa-Europe Foundation with support from MSH. Members of the Climate Council serve as advisors and co-advocates in the movement to increase awareness about the impact of climate change on health and to accelerate policy change and global financial support for climate adaptation.