Climate change and human health

WMO and WHO establish joint office for climate and health

A new WHO/WMO Climate and Health office has been established under the auspices of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) to promote the coordinated development and use of climate services to improve public health. It will increase awareness, build capacity, and connect meteorological services with experts in the health sector in an active partnership for climate adaptation and risk management.

The move comes in response to increasing demand from the health community for improved access to climate and weather products like regional climate predictions, hazard warnings and seasonal outlooks needed to understand and manage health risks related to weather and climate and to cope with a shifting burden of disease due to climate change. The office will ensure that there is in-house health expertise at WMO and a focal point for liaison with WHO and other health partners.

Global Framework for Climate Services

The WMO/WHO Joint Office will help to achieve the goals of the Global Framework for Climate services, an ambitious international initiative which seeks to:

  • Improve and expand climate and weather services such as seasonal forecasts and drought monitors, and support their uptake by key sectors such as health, food security, water and disaster risk reduction.
  • The joint office will provide support in four main areas.
    • Firstly, it will ensure that the potential contribution of meteorological services are reflected in international health policy fora, such as the World Health Assembly, and forthcoming WHO conference on health and climate in August 2014. It will also propose a strategic roadmap for WMO and the meteorological community to better support the health sector to access and use climate information and services.
    • Secondly, the Office will provide coordination, resource mobilization, and technical support to demonstration projects and research, beginning with the new Climate Services Adaptation Programmes in Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania. This initiative will support collaboration between health partners and the national meteorological departments, to make better use of weather information and seasonal forecasts to enhance risk assessment and preparedness for diseases such as malaria, diarrhea and undernutrition.
    • Thirdly, the joint office will strengthen coordination and collaborative initiatives between WHO and WMO, and with the wider community of practice for climate service action for health. Fourthly, the office will provide communications and capacity development by developing awareness raising and technical guidance materials, building on the successful cooperation between WHO and WMO in the publication of The Atlas of Health and Climate in 2012, and forthcoming guidance on developing heat-health early warning systems.
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