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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.


UNDP and the World Health Organization, with support from the Global Environment Facility, are working with Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu to build the climate resilience of their health systems.

The Green Climate Fund, UNDP and World Health Organization have come together in to support the development of an ambitious global climate and health investment programme initially seeking to deploy US$122 million in financing.

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.


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.


Brief for project 'Enhancing Adaptive Capacities of Coastal Communities, especially Women, to Cope with Climate Change-Induced Salinity in Bangladesh' (known locally as the Gender-responsive Coastal Adaptation, or GCA, project) 

This Joint Value Proposition by UNDP and WHO on addressing climate change and health in the Europe and Central Asia region provides an overview of key thematic and programmatic entry points toward strengthening national health adaptation and mitigation capacities. Climate change is one of the greatest threats to human health worldwide, and the risks toward good health continue to grow. It threatens the essentials including clean air, safe-drinking water, nutritious food supply and safe shelter. The health sector has a double role to play.