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Action Pledges


Climate change and health

Partner World Health Organization (WHO)

Date of submission 01/10/2008


WHO Action pledge

The effects of climate change on health are receiving increasing attention as a central concern for policy makers and the public.  Human beings are already exposed to short and long term health risks of climate variability and change.  Climate-sensitive diseases and health conditions today kill millions.  They include malnutrition, which causes over 3.5 million deaths per year, diarrhoeal diseases, which kill over 1.8 million, and malaria, which kills almost 1 million. Climate change threatens to increase these disease burdens and erode the environmental conditions that support good health and well-being of mankind.

In compliance with this mandate from the health community, WHO is committed to strengthening:

  1. Its scientific, normative and policy development functions,
  2. Its operational programmes (e.g. combating infectious disease, improving water and sanitation services and hygiene practices, and providing health support in emergencies), and
  3. Its support to Ministries of Health and other health actors throughout the world.

WHO pledges to carry out the following specific actions:

  • Strengthening of health systems
  • Outreach and advocacy
  • Monitoring, surveillance and forecasting
  • Health development
  • Research and knowledge
  • Partnerships
Action pledge updates 

WHO Action Pledge update


WHO Action Pledge update

Further information

Director General's statement on World Health Day 2008
 Work plan (2009)
Director General's speech The impact of global crises on health: money, weather and microbes
World Health Assembly Resolution on climate change and health
World Health Day 2008 on protecting health from climate change

WHO Regional Offices
WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO)
WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO)
WHO Regional Office for Europe (EURO)
WHO Regional Office for the Americas/Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia (SEARO)
SEARO Regional Framework for Action to Protect Human Health from the Effects of Climate Change in the Asia-Pacific Region
WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WPRO)

Regional focus All regions
Sector Human health
Science, assessment, monitoring and early warning
Adaptation delivery activity Capacity building
Communications and awareness-raising
Knowledge management
Monitoring and evaluation
NWP work area Adaptation planning and practices
Data and observations
Methods and tools
Socio-economic information
Target group Academics
Policy makers
Private sector

Organizations, institutions and private sector companies at all levels and in a wide range of sectors can become engaged with the NWP by becoming a partner and making Action Pledges. Information about how organizations can become engaged with work on adaptation under the NWP can be found here.