WHO and WMO join forces on climate and health impacts

The World Health Organization and the World Meteorological Organization on Tuesday (July, 08) announced they have created a Joint Office for Climate and Health. The new unit has been established under the auspices of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) to promote the coordinated development and use of climate services to improve public health, the two UN agencies explained in a statement.

Extreme weather events such as heat and cold wave, tropical cyclones, floods and droughts damage or destroy health facilities and water and sanitation infrastructures, affecting the health and life of millions of people each year, says WHO official Dr Flavia Bustreo. She also highlighted that “the most significant impacts often occur indirectly and more slowly, such as under-nutrition resulting from crop failure, respiratory diseases from poor air quality, and water-borne and vector-borne diseases. Climate-informed preparedness and prevention can greatly reduce these health risks”. 

Cooperation between WHO and WMO in the past few years led to the publication of The Atlas of Health and Climate in 2012.

Besides providing further communications and technical guidance materials, the joint office for Climate and Health is aimed at providing coordination, resources and technical support to demonstration projects and research, strengthening collaboration among the two agencies and the wider community of practice for climate service action for health, and integrating the contribution of meteorological services with  international health policy initiatives, such as the first global conference on climate change and health to be held on 27–29 August  at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.