Factor health into adaptation finance – Climate Centre study

Factor health into adaptation finance – Climate Centre study
15 June 2023

By the Climate Centre

Climate Centre research indicating that adaptation finance for health remains very low judged by needs assessed by the WHO was published in full yesterday and also summarized in a policy brief by the European Commission ENBEL project, which supported the work.

Preliminary findings were released in 2021 in the run-up to the UN climate talks at COP 26 in Glasgow.

Projects reported by donors as related to health in some way in the decade 2009–19 comprised only 5 per cent of total adaptation funding, both multilateral and bilateral, or US$ 1.4 billion, the research finds.

A closer look at the actual contents of publicly available proposals, however, suggests the true spend on health in multilateral projects is a barely tenth of that.

The Climate Centre scoping review found that out of a total of 50 multilateral projects that were related to health, only ten – representing US$ 45.9 million or 0.5 per cent of multilateral adaptation finance – focused specifically on the health sector

These ten projects included strengthening the capacity of health systems, supporting the development of health in National Adaptation Plans, developing information and early warning systems that include health risks, improving policy, governance or the capacity of health workforces to deal with climate impacts, and improving disease control and awareness.

Among important barriers to greater multilateral funding are a lack of communication with the health sector on opportunities, and limited contact between health actors and climate change processes, according to the World Health Organization and the CHANCE network.

Limited capacity for the development of proposals, the absence of health departments from national climate planning, and the failure of health-sector leaders to prioritize climate are other factors.

‘We have to see this finance gap closed
to avert catastrophic health impacts’

The Climate Centre calls for adaptation finance that actually goes beyond UNFCCC obligations, with funding channelled to support the inclusion of health in national adaptation plans and the establishment of adaptation focal-points in health ministries.

This research finds most funding went toward projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region with a high level of vulnerability to climate change; the Middle East and North Africa is largely been left out, however, with only two projects and 2 per cent of what funding there is.

Climate Centre health lead Meghan Bailey said today: “The focus should be on how best to finance and strengthen health systems so they can cope with the changing health burden the climate crisis is bringing, while prioritizing countries especially vulnerable to health impacts.

“We have to see this finance gap closed to avert the risk of catastrophic health impacts.”

Solomon Islands Red Cross volunteers on a door-to-door awareness campaign against dengue fever in Gizo, the capital of Western province. Above-normal rainfall in some areas increased mosquito breeding sites, contributing to dengue outbreaks. This and other health issues were high on the agenda at a Pacific Islands climate outlook conference in Apia, Samoa. (Library photo: Benoit Matsha Carpentier/IFRC)