Thematic Area

Climate Change and Health

Climate change has far-reaching impacts on human health and well-being. Health planning must integrate climate change (and vice versa) to ensure adaptation measures are in place for both preparation and response to these clear and present risks. Changing temperature and rainfall patterns impact crop yields, food security, water security, and nutrition, and increase the incidence of water and vector borne disease. Increased frequency and intensity of extreme events can cause not only injury and death, but also increases the risk of water-borne diseases (diarrheal disease, Hepatitis A and E, bacterial diseases such as cholera), diseases associated with crowding (measles, meningitis, acute respiratory infections), vector-borne diseases (malaria, dengue, Japanese Encephalitis), and psychological and emotional distress related to traumatic events, natural disasters or displacement. Health impacts from climate change are exacerbated in countries where health systems already struggle to manage existing health risks, and capacity to adapt to additional climate change-related health risks is limited. At particular risk are the most vulnerable: children, elderly and low-income communities.

Human Stories

With support from The GEF and UNDP nations across Asia and the Pacific are building resilience into their health systems.

The impacts of climate change - particularly sea-level rise and pronounced droughts - are having severe consequences in the Solomon Islands. With funding from the Global Environmental Facility’s Least Developed Countries Fund and supported by UNDP, the Solomon Islands Water Sector Adaptation Project (SIWSAP) addressed water, sanitation, and hygiene challenges on six water-stressed islands thereby improving health, sanitation and quality of life.

Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health—clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food, and secure shelter. Adaptation projects designed to address food and water security, advance ecosystem-based adaptation, or enhance livelihoods, will help in addressing these interconnected issues.

Resources

Partnerships

UNDP’s work on health is done in close partnership with WHO, including as co-sponsors of UNAIDS. The impact of the partnership, from the global to country level, illustrates how the core competencies of the UN health and development agencies can come together to support multi-sectoral responses for health and deliver shared gains across the 2030 Agenda.