New Publication: WHO Operational Framework for Building Climate Resilient and Low Carbon Health Systems (2023)
9 November 2023
The World Health Organization has published the latest version of the Operational Framework for Building Climate Resilient and Low Carbon Health Systems.
The new publication is the latest version following on from the 2015 WHO document. The new version describes the 10 components of climate-resilient health systems and is updated to reflect the latest research and scientific evidence, drawing from more recent examples and advances in the field. It also highlights the importance of implementing low carbon health practices simultaneously with those that build climate resilience.
The goal of the Operational Framework is to guide health sector decision makers in their efforts to prepare for climate change, with the previous version already used by many countries as they work to build climate resilient and low carbon health systems. Through the ten components outlined, the Operational Framework aims to prepare health systems to be better able to anticipate, prevent, prepare for, and manage climate-related health risks and therefore reduce negative outcomes of climate change on health.
The key objectives of the Operational Framework are:
- to guide health sector professionals in addressing climate-related health risks through collaboration;
- to strengthen health system functions for climate resilience and low carbon health approaches;
- to support development of specific interventions for climate risk reduction and emissions reduction; and
- to define roles and responsibilities for health decision-makers in climate resilience.
The Operational Framework presents pathways for health systems to strengthen their climate resilience and decarbonize depending on their overall performance, levels of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change and health capacity. This includes systems in low-income countries that need to increase energy access and health service provision to provide universal health coverage. In this way, the benefits of implementing this Framework extend beyond the realm of health care. The aims of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing the resilience of health systems, are critical towards achieving broader objectives of universal health coverage, global health security, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Operational Framework focuses on both climate change mitigation and adaptation actions that can be undertaken to improve the resilience of health systems in the face of an increasingly unstable and changing climate. The document aims to be a practical resource used by decision makers in health systems, including public health agencies and other specialized institutions, as well as, officials in other sectors that may directly or indirectly impact on health. It is also a useful tool that supports the implementation of the ATACH objectives and commitments of countries under the ATACH.