WHO-Civil Society Working Group to Advance Action on Climate and Health
The WHO-Civil Society Working Group for Action on Climate Change and Health aims to foster a strong and sustained health voice, informing decision-making on climate change nationally and internationally, and driving urgent action on climate change.
Working group members work individually and collaboratively to increase engagement of the health sector in climate change mitigation and adaptation. They tackle climate change through health care systems reform, research, peer education, advocacy, emergency response, and policy development. Members Established in 2019 by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the group is co-chaired by the WHO Assistant Director-General for Healthier Populations, and the Executive Director of the Global Climate and Health Alliance.
Working Group Highlights
- The Working Group’s capacity building subcommittee released an open letter to health education stakeholders calling on universities and other academic institutions to strengthen climate change education for all health professionals, and encouraging academic leadership, faculty, students and alumni to commit to work for change at their own universities.
- The Working Group’s research subcommittee reviewed climate and health research published in the past 10 years, and published Climate change and health research: current trends, gaps and perspectives for the future as an update of WHO’s 2009 research priorities paper.
- In the run up to COP26, the Working Group played key roles in drafting, garnering sign on, and publicizing the Healthy Climate Prescription letter, which was signed by over 600 organizations representing 46 million health workers, to highlight climate change as a health emergency and to call for urgent, ambitious and equitable climate action, and investment in resilient, low carbon health systems.
- In 2021, the Working Group hosted Regional Consultations in each of the six WHO regions, inviting health professionals working to address causes and impacts of climate change, to connect with others in their field and region. Through the Regional Consultations the health community around the world provided input into the WHO special report to the UNFCCC, The Health Argument for Climate Action.
- In May 2019, the Working Group was instrumental in delivering a Healthy Recovery letter to G20 leaders from organizations representing over 40 million health professionals.
Working Group Co-Chairs
World Health Organization
WHO supports countries in building climate-resilient health systems and tracking national progress in protecting health from climate change. It also supports countries in assessing the health gains that would result from the implementation of the existing Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement, and the potential for larger gains from more ambitious climate action.
Key Climate & Health Initiatives:
Global Climate and Health Alliance
GCHA is made up of health and development organisations from around the world united by a shared vision of an equitable, sustainable future. Our vision is a world in which the health impacts of climate change are kept to a minimum, and the health co-benefits of climate change mitigation are maximised.
Key Climate & Health Initiatives:
Working Group Members
Amref Health Africa
Amref Health Africa is the leading African health NGO. Headquartered in Kenya, Amref’s mission is to increase sustainable health access to communities in Africa through solutions in human resources for health, health services delivery, and investments in health
Confederación Iberoamericana de Medicina Familiar
CIMF is made up of 20 national societies specialized in Family Medicine, which are organized into 4 Subregions: Andean, Cone-South, Mesoamerica, and the Iberian Peninsula.
The ENBEL project coordinates a network of international health and climate research projects under the Belmont Forum’s Collaborative Research Action on Climate, Environment and Health and EU-funded projects. ENBEL is funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. We engage with policymakers and key stakeholders to understand their evidence needs on climate and health, provide synthesis of scientific evidence on climate change and health links, identify knowledge gaps and translate evidence into outputs relevant for policy.
Indigenous Allied Health Australia
Indigenous Allied Health Australia is a national, member-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health organisation. IAHA leads sector workforce development and support, to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
International Pediatrics Association
For over 100 years, the International Pediatric Association (IPA) has been the only global body representing the professional societies of pediatricians. IPA represents pediatricians from over 149 countries in over 164 member societies, enabling them to work together to improve the physical, mental and social and environmental health of all children. The IPA works through its Environmental Health Strategic Advisory Group to educate and advocate for action on the climate crisis.
International Society for Environmental Epidemiology - Asia Western Pacific Chapter
ISEE Asia and Western Pacific (AWPC) Chapter was first established in 2004 and promotes communication as well as facilitate capacity building for environmental epidemiology in Asian and Western Pacific countries.
Médecins Sans Frontières
Médecins Sans Frontières translates to Doctors without Borders. We provide medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from healthcare. Our teams are made up of tens of thousands of health professionals, logistic and administrative staff – bound together by our charter. Our actions are guided by medical ethics and the principles of impartiality, independence and neutrality. We are a non-profit, self-governed, member-based organisation.
South African Medical Association
We believe that, as a representative organization for the medical profession in South Africa and the African region, we should be the voice of authority on matters affecting public health, including climate change. SAMA has for some time recognized the significant health threat that is caused, and will still be caused, by climate change. SAMA has played an active and vocal role in the fight to address climate change in Africa, the global south, and the global village as a whole.
Vital Strategies (Vital) is an international non-governmental organization working in over 70 countries to address the world’s most pressing public health challenges. Environmental Health’s diverse team of researchers, analysts, communication, and policy experts collaborate closely with policymakers and stakeholders to compile and analyze critical data, raise awareness of pressing environmental health threats, and advocate for innovative policy solutions that control air pollution, mitigate and adapt to climate change, reduce exposure to toxic chemicals, and expand clean energy and transportation options.
World Federation of Public Health Associations
The WFPHA is the umbrella group for 130 National Public Health Associations, with the following mission: Advocate for health equity and global policies to improve the health of populations through collaborating with groups or individuals who share our values, and strengthening global population health by developing and advancing public health practice, education, training and research worldwide. The Environmental Health Working Group of the WFPHA takes the lead on matters involving the interrelationship between human health, their environment and planetary health.
World Heart Foundation
A leader and convener in global cardiovascular health, the World Heart Federation champions heart health and acts to reduce the global burden of heart disease and stroke, which together claim 18.6 million lives every year. WHF is committed to reducing the impact of air pollution on people’s health and we have made it a priority area in our global advocacy efforts. We are taking action in three key areas to address the issue of air pollution and CVD: research, advocacy, and education.