Climate change and human health

The Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) Adaptation Programme in Africa

This new programme will help to guide decision makers and public health authorities to provide well –targeted climate services in countries in Africa through operationalizing the GFCS to obtain accessible and accurate climate service information.

The problem

Currently, an estimated 70 nations, have inadequate or no climate services and remain ill equipped to tackle any climate variability. Africa maintains the continent most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and faces increasing repercussions to food security, nutrition, water supplies and socio–economic development due to the impact of human induced climate change on climate variability.

Changes in global climate changes expose people in many areas of Africa to an increasing climate-sensitive disease burden. Vector borne diseases such as malaria as well as water borne disease like cholera are at a heightened risk due to warmer temperatures improving pathogen survival rates. In addition, Unless adaptation strategies are implemented in these countries, communities will be exposed to increasing vulnerability as a consequence to the greater demands of climate change on various sectors.

The Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) was developed as a global partnership of producers and users of climate information and services to improve the quality and quantity of these services globally. The GFCS has identified this new programme to help guide decision makers and public health authorities to provide well –targeted climate services in countries in Africa through operationalizing the GFCS to obtain accessible and accurate climate service information.

The goal

The goal of the programme is to `increase the resilience of people most vulnerable to the impacts of weather and climate-related events through the development, implementation and evaluation of a joint programme of Climate Services in programme countries`. The programme is helping build integrated frameworks within countries and supporting existing initiatives in climate services, food security, nutrition and health as well as disaster risk reduction.

The project

The project was governed by a prime grant agreement signed between the World Meteorological Organization and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a multi-agency Global Framework for Climate Services Adaptation three–year (2014 – 2016), with a total budget of USD 10 million.

The focus countries for this programme are Tanzania and Malawi; the programme also has a component in food security and nutrition in Ethiopia.

The programme is made up of three different components, targeting the national, local and regional levels.

At a national level, the project aims to:
  • Engage in Institutional anchorage of programmes at the highest possible level to bring together various existing platforms.
  • Improve capacity of national actors to tailor, deliver and evaluate climate services to support adaptation in Malawi and Tanzania.
  • Improve the ability of production centre(s) to respond to user-demand of climate services.
  • Improve the awareness of climate related risks in each sector (Agriculture, Health, DRR) and improve capacity of sectors to address these risks.
  • Integrate climate service priorities within National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) in Malawi and Tanzania, in order to improve climate change adaptation.
  • Improve early warning systems (EWS) for food security, health and DRR with the use of climate services.
At a local level, the project aims to:
  • Identify households’ climate service gaps and outstanding needs to drive service design.
  • Strengthen capacity of communities and local institutions to transform climate information into action.
  • Improve capacity of households and communities to demand and use climate services for improving the management of climate risks at a household level.
At a regional level, the project aims to:
  • Improve learning within the international community of practitioners on provision of climate services to end users.
  • Improve coordination and exploit synergies of climate change adaptation programmes in the targeted regions and countries with related regional programmes and policies active in Southern and East Africa.
Activities to enhance health resilience include:
  • reviewing and improving early warning systems for health, with a particular emphasis on the health impacts of undernutrition;
  • defining clear roles and responsibilities of the health sector in relation to others during extreme-weather events;
  • building capacity of health professionals to manage health risks from climate variability and change; and
  • ensuring that climate services are appropriately integrated into national health and environmental policy and programmes, including the health components of National Adaptation Plans under the UNFCCC

The partners

The programme focuses on a partnership approach, involving seven different international agencies and research institutes. The partners involved in the programme are:

  • World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • World Food Programme (WFP)
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) including Norwegian Red Cross and Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre
  • CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)
  • Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO) and the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI)

This is the first collaboration between the above agencies on delivering climate services. WMO serves as the lead for the partnership, with the other agencies taking responsibility for specific thematic areas of work, and supporting their national counterparts; for example WHO in providing policy and technical support to the Ministries of Health in Tanzania and Malawi.

The future

This programme is initially benefiting two developing African countries, subjected to multiple climate sensitive threats. Detailed activity planning at a country level for Tanzania and Malawi began in February 2014. These activities will continue to build upon existing services in food security, nutrition and health, and disaster risk reduction within each country.

The Climate Services Adaptation Programme is intended to operate in other African countries in the future. It is also hoped to serve as a model to be implemented in other parts of the world.