The Global Climate and Health Alliance is thrilled to be the new host for the Health and Climate Network (HCN) secretariat, and welcomes the HCN Director Alison Doig to the team. With funding from the Clean Air Fund, we look forward to working closely together, and maximizing the synergies across our efforts so our voices are stronger together.
We are excited about reaching new audiences, in the climate sector and beyond, with our collective call for healthy climate action.
GCHA Executive Director, Dr Jeni Miller and HCN Director Dr Alison Doig tell us more about the network it’s integration with GCHA.
What is the Health and Climate Network?
The HCN is all about getting the health sector and the climate sector working together to advocate for healthy climate action, and to maximize health benefits of climate action.
The HCN is made up of experts and advocates from around the world who work on clean energy, healthy diets, active transport, and sustainable and zero-carbon resilient health systems.
We are building a cross-sector community to break down the silos, to call for fair and just transition to a zero carbon and healthy world, to jointly develop policy, and to advocate together at key global events such as COP27 which will be in Egypt later this year.
What’s the relationship between GCHA and HCN, and why is a multi-sectoral initiative important to working on climate and health?
GCHA’s members and core constituency is the health sector. It’s been fantastic to see the explosion of engagement by the health community on climate change over the past few years – more and more health organizations, health professionals, and health workers of all kinds are tackling the climate crisis in their workplaces, in their communities, and by raising their voices to decision makers. But as the health community, we know that the majority of what drives climate change lies beyond the health sector itself. We can, and must, do our part by making health systems sustainable and resilient. But other sectors like energy, transportation, and food systems play a far greater role in climate change, and they also have a huge role in determining people’s health outcomes.
The Health and Climate Network was explicitly set up to bring those other sectors to the table, right alongside the health community. HCN therefore creates opportunities for health folks, and those working on climate policy, transport, energy, food systems, to work together. By thinking and working together on solutions, the health community and those in other sectors can help drive action that tackles the climate crisis, and that also delivers the greatest possible benefits for health.
What has the network done so far, and what do you hope to achieve over the next year?
In our first year, hosted in 2021 by the Wellcome Trust, the HCN held cross-sector workshops which produced four policy briefing papers to frame our calls for health-centered climate action on energy, transport, food and healthcare systems. We hosted side events on each of these agendas at key global meetings, including at the WHO Health Pavilion at COP26 in Glasgow. Most importantly we have built a multi-sector community who want to work together towards healthy climate action.
Throughout 2022 we will continue to build our network, through seminars, workshops and events, with a focus on sustainable food systems and fossil fuel phase out, and climate and health in Africa in the run up to COP27. Working with GCHA we hope to maximize the exchange between health professionals and our climate sector partners.
What is the greatest promise of this new relationship?
Collaborating directly and regularly with organizations from other sectors has for the most part been a missing piece for the health community engaged on climate change. By having HCN hosted within GCHA, there is greater potential for the health argument for climate action to be a shared message that reaches far and wide, driving real win-win solutions.