WHO-Civil Society Working Group to Advance Action on Climate and Health

In November 2017, WHO Director-General, requested that a formal Working Group be established bringing together the WHO and representatives of leading health NGOs active in the effort to stop climate change. Working group members tackle climate change through health care systems reform, research, peer education, advocacy, emergency response, and policy development. Members work individually and collaboratively to increase engagement of the health sector in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Working Group Co-Chairs

World Health Organization – Co-Chair

The United Nations Health Agency, active in 150 countries to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.

Geographic Reach: Global, with 194 Member States

Current Climate Initiatives:

  • Stewarding forward the Climate Action Summit Health Commitments
  • Helping the health systems of vulnerable countries adapt to climate change
  • Developing the Health and climate change country profiles (50 new upcoming profiles)
  • Advocating increased ambition on climate change and health at COP 25 and beyond

In the News
Step up climate action, improve health change lives
Health Benefits far outweigh the costs of meeting climate change goals

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Global Climate & Health Alliance – Co-Chair 

The Alliance 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.  

Geographic Reach: Global

Current Climate Initiatives:

In the News

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Working Group Members


Abrasco is a multidisciplinary scientific society engaged in the strengthening of the Collective Health area and Public Health actions. Abrasco brings together researchers, faculty, students and health professionals to strengthen knowledge production and improve the formulation of health, education and science and technology policies aimed at improving living conditions and coping with health problems of the Brazilian population.

Geographic Reach: Brazil, with 5000+ individual members

Connect with us to learn more about:

  • Health and Environment
  • Food and nutrition security
  • Mobilization and defense of the right to health
  • Primary Health Care Initiatives
  • Strengthening of research and science

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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.

Geographic Reach: Africa

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Alliance for Health Promotion


The Alliance for Health Promotion (A4HP) founded in 1997 at the 4th International Conference on Health Promotion in Jakarta is a coalition of international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), academic institutions and other Civil Society actors from different sectors committed to Health Promotion. A4PH fights for recognition of the value of local knowledge as a community asset and its integration in development programmes. It is a bridge between grass-roots and international initiatives.

Geographic Reach: Global

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Climate and Health Alliance Australia 

CAHA is the peak body on climate and health in Australia. CAHA works to catalyse action on climate change through building a powerful health sector movement, nationally and internationally.

Geographic reach: Australia, with some outreach in New Zealand, membership is comprised of over 30 organizations representing 500,000 healthcare workers

Current Initiatives:

  • Our Climate Our Health Campaign, engaged over 50 organisations (representing over one million Australians) in advocacy for a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being. This policy roadmap, developed by CAHA, has been adopted by major political parties (Australian Labor Party and The Australian Greens) as their policy position. It has also informed climate-health policy development in several states and territories.
  • Clearing the Air, a campaign to achieve climate and health goals through securing stronger air pollution standards for Australia.

Connect with us to learn more about:

  • Organisations interested in policy development, communicating about climate and health, engaging health stakeholders in advocacy and reducing the carbon footprint of healthcare.


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Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

CAPE works to better human health by protecting the planet. We envision a Canada, and a world, that prioritizes the health of people and of the planet in society and policy.

Geographic Reach: Canada, and internationally through collaborations

Current Initiatives:

  • Educating health professionals about the health impacts of climate change using the Climate Change Toolkit for Health Professionals
  • Developing the regulations around coal fired power plants and gas-fired power plants that are part of the implementation of the coal phase-out. 
  • Working to unify health voices to call on politicians to treat climate change as a health issue, and has now received support from all of Canada’s major physician and nurse’s associations for its Call to Action.

Connect with us to learn more about:

  • Coal phase-out 
  • Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) 
  • Health benefits of being in Nature
  • Education of Health Professionals
  • Mental Health Impacts of Climate Change
  • Active Travel Advocacy

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Health and Environment Alliance

HEAL works with Global organisations like UNFCCC, UNEP and WHO, with European and national decision-makers as well as environmental organisations towards climate and energy policies putting human health at the centre of their priorities.

Geographic Reach: Europe, with some international membership

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Health Care Without Harm

Health Care Without Harm seeks to transform health care worldwide so that it reduces its environmental footprint and becomes a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice.   Health Care Without Harm works with hospitals, health systems, health professionals, NGOs, ministries of health and United Nations organizations to achieve its mission. 

Health Care Without Harm’s International Climate Program works to align the  health care sector with the ambition of the Paris Agreement while meeting global health goals through three core strategies:

  1. Mitigation: reducing the sector’s climate footprint and putting it on a trajectory toward zero emissions
  2. Resilience: fostering climate resilient hospitals, health centers and communities
  3. Leadership: mobilizing health care’s ethical, economic, and political influence to advance the transition to zero emissions and a healthy, equitable future.

Geographic Reach: Global, with offices in the EU, US, and South East Asia; a dynamic program in Latin America; and partner organizations in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Nepal, and South Africa.

Current Initiatives:

  • Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network has more than 1,300 institutional members in 65 countries who represent the interests of more than 36,000 hospitals and health centers and are committed to an environmental sustainability agenda.
  • Mobilizing health care institutions around the world to protect public health from climate change through the Health Care Climate Challenge
  • Developing a global roadmap for decarbonization, resilience, and health equity in health care climate action.
  • Working with national and subnational governments to incorporate climate smart health care into their climate and/or health policies.
  • Working to leverage health care’s purchasing and investment power to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Connect with us to learn more about:

  • Reducing the carbon footprint of the health care sector
  • Mobilizing health professionals and health institutions to advocate for clean air
  • Healthy energy, and a safe climate
  • Fostering climate-resilient health care and communities

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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.

Geographic Reach: Australia

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International Council of Nurses

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of more than 130 national nurses associations (NNAs), representing the more than 20 million nurses worldwide. Operated by nurses and leading nurses internationally, ICN works to ensure quality nursing care for all, sound health policies globally, the advancement of nursing knowledge, and the presence worldwide of a respected nursing profession and a competent and satisfied nursing workforce.

Geographic Reach: Global

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International Federation of Environmental Health

The Federation works to disseminate knowledge concerning environmental health and promote co-operation between countries where environmental health issues are transboundary. It promotes the interchange of people working in this sector and the exchange of Member’s publications of a scientific and technical nature.

Geographic Reach: Environmental health organizations in more than 60 countries in 5 Regional Groups (Africa; Americas; Asia and Pacific; Europe; Middle East)

Current Initiatives:

Connect with us to learn more about:

  • Information and expertise on environmental health
  • Participating in World Environmental Health Day 2020

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International Federation of Medical Students Associations

The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) is a non governmental organization representing associations of medical students.   This video gives a brief overview of the organization.

Geographic Reach:  Global, with 136 National Member Organizations from 128 countries across six continents, representing 1.3 millions medical students.

Current Initiatives

  • IFMSA began a Small Working Group on Climate Change Medical Education Framework to create an education framework that guides the inclusion of climate change and health into medical curricula and educational activities of the students and support the achievement of IFMSA Climate Vision. In addition, the Working Group will create an Assessment Scorecard for medical students to score their medical universities in terms of climate change and health education.
  • IFMSA developed a 3-day capacity building workshop on Advocacy to Policy-making (AtoP) on Climate Change and Health in Kigali, Rwanda to equip medical students with the skills and capabilities to urge their national governments for immediate climate action and meaningful youth participation in NDCs review processes. Following the AtoP workshop, we will facilitate a series of COP simulation sessions, climate change debate sessions and niche topics relevant to climate change as food and water security, gender and mental health, that will be delivered to 193 participants from all over the world in Rwanda.
  • IFMSA developed the Sustainable and Climate-Friendly Recommendations for our meetings attended by more than 1000 medical students and hence, we strongly work towards reducing our own carbon footprint in such meetings and evaluating our progress each year since August Meeting in Montreal in 2018.

Connect with us to learn more about:

  • Capacity building for medical students
  • Climate change integration in medical education
  • Advocacy, climate policy-making and meaningful youth participation
  • Mental health and climate change.

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International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian network that reaches 150 million people in 192 National Societies through the work of over 13,7 million volunteers.

Together, we act before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. We do so without discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.

Geographic Reach: Global

Current Initiatives:

  • The Faces of Climate Change Campaign declares the climate crises a humanitarian emergency and is asking volunteers to take action in their own lives to stop the climate crises
  • In its latest report, The Cost of Doing Nothing, the IFRC presents an analysis showing that if no urgent action is taken now, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance annually due to the climate crisis could double by 2050. In contrast with this pessimistic scenario, the report also shows that, if appropriate climate adaptation measures are taken now, these figures could also stabilize, and even drop

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Medecins Sans Frontieres / Doctors Without Borders

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) 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.

Geographic Reach: Global

Current Initiatives:

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The Public Health Foundation of India

The Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) is a public private initiative that collaboratively evolved through consultations with multiple constituencies including Indian and international academia, state and central governments, multi & bi-lateral agencies and civil society groups.

The Centre for Environmental Health (CEH) launched in 2016 as a joint initiative of PHFI and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. CEH aims to build capacity in environmental health research and training, and to provide evidence-informed policy guidance. The centre has carried out activities to raise public awareness on environmental risk factors including air pollution, WASH, e-waste through collaborations with civil society groups, NGOs and schools across the country

Geographic Reach: India, with 400 members across multiple campuses

Recent successes:

  • In March 2019, the CEH along with the Association of Health Care Providers, India organized a one day National Health Conclave on Climate Change and Health – Role of the Health Sector, dedicated to the health impacts of climate change in India and appropriate risk mitigation and adaptation strategies, with specific focus on the health sector.
  • In May 2019, CEH co-hosted a Consortium for Health effects of Air pollution Research in India (CHAIR India) meeting in collaboration with the Centre for Chronic Disease Control (CCDC), Public Health Foundation of India & Karolinska Institutet, in New Delhi. 

Current Initiatives:

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has recognised CEH as “Centre of Excellence” for Climate Resilient Healthcare & Green health facilities. CEH will be drafting a framework & action plan for National Action Plan for Climate Change and Health (NAPCCH) which will feed into State Action Plans & assist in ground implementation in States.
  • A collaborative effort with the Department of Science, Technology and Environment, Government of Punjab will see our researchers contribute to the development and implementation of two critical programs – Mission Tandrust and Mission Innovate Punjab.
  • Health and Environment Leadership Platform (HELP), launched in February 2017, has brought together over 7300 healthcare institutions, 4500 diagnostic centres, 27000 health professionals and several other health sector organizations to increase awareness on environmental exposures, build capacity of physicians on environmental health, and advocate as a trusted voice for effective policymaking to reduce India’s environmental burden of disease. The HELP platform currently has 70 individual members representing over 7000 hospitals. Most recently, the team contributed to the initiative by NHSRC for incorporating the Green and Climate resilient healthcare rules and guidelines into the latest Indian Public Health Standards

Connect with us to learn more about:

  • Collaborating with CEH to build capacity in India in environmental health research and training 
  • Reducing the carbon footprint of health organizations – Interested organizations should get in touch with our HELP secretariat at the centre. 
  • Building and supporting evidence-informed policy based on research in thematic areas including air pollution; water; sanitation and hygiene; chemical exposures; climate change, and other environmental issues of concern.
  • Researchers/research-based organisations can sign up for CHAIR India to collaborate on health effects of air pollution research.

CEH: Website     Twitter      Facebook      Instagram

PHFI: Website      Twitter      Facebook      Instagram 

World Medical Association

The WMA is an umbrella global organisation composed of Constituent Membership (Independent national associations of physicians) from different countries in the world, as well as Associate Membership (individual physicians) with voting rights at the Annual Associate Members Meeting and the right to participate in the General Assembly through the chosen representatives of the Associate Members.

Geographic Reach: 112 constituent members representing millions of physicians worldwide

Current Initiatives:

  • International advocacy on divestment from fossil fuels
  • Capacity building for physicians to reduce the environmental impact of healthcare facilities

Connect with us to learn more about:

  • Health professionals mobilisation/advocacy
  • Climate change negotiations at the UNFCCC and WHO from the civil society perspective
  • Climate change and medical education

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