The Regional Workshop to Forge a Common Position on Climate Change and Health for Africa

by Amref Health Africa

August, 22, 2023 – Lilongwe, Malawi

Amref Health Africa in, collaboration with partners – Government of Malawi, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) and World Health Organization (WHO), hosts a Regional Workshop on Climate Change and Health that officially commenced today, bringing together a distinguished assembly of state and non-state actors, experts, and leaders in the health and climate change sectors.

This three-day event aims to build consensus, share insights, and amplify the Africa common position on health within the context of climate change, with the ultimate goal of fostering sustainable and comprehensive policies that prioritize health and the environment.

The workshop addresses the profound impacts of climate change on health, exacerbating vulnerabilities to diseases and malnutrition. These impacts have far-reaching consequences, amplifying existing health inequalities and hindering the progress of vital agendas like the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the 2063 Africa Agenda.

Dr. Githinji Gitahi, the Group CEO – Amref Health Africa, noted that health had been ignored for a long time in climate discussions yet it presents the direct consequences of climate change. He underscored the need for a paradigm shift in addressing climate justice. “It is imperative that we fully integrate health into the climate justice dialogue,” stated Dr. Gitahi. “By doing so, we can foster more comprehensive strategies that safeguard the well-being of communities while addressing the global climate crisis.”

On his part, Dr. Mithika Mwenda, Executive Director of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), underscored the critical need for enhanced financial support. “In the global multilateral funding systems, only 0.5% of funding is allocated to the health sector,” Dr. Mwenda stated. “Additionally, less than half of the required needs for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) financing are met. We must advocate for greater funding to bridge these gaps, especially in the realms of mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, response measures, and addressing the needs of youth and gender, particularly within the African context.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) also weighed in on the importance of integrating health considerations within climate discussions. “Uniting forces and mobilizing health arguments and evidence can effectively reshape the climate narrative,” emphasized the WHO representative. “By championing the health perspective, we can pave the way for a sustainable, healthy future for all.”

Mr. Ephraim Mwepya Shitima, Chairperson of the African Group of Negotiators (AGN), and Hon. Werani Chilenga, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change, Malawi, lent their expertise to emphasize the necessity of cohesive strategies.

“As we navigate the intricate links between climate change and health, it’s imperative to chart a course that enhances resilience and sustainable development,” highlights Mr. Ephraim Mwepya Shitima.

In her opening address, Hon. Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, Member of the Parliament and Minister for Health, Malawi, cast a powerful clarion call. “Today marks the unity of purpose as we craft a collective stance to confront the huge threats that climate change poses to public health across Africa. Our voices unite to advocate for a common position that transcends boundaries, resonates through diverse sectors, and rallies for escalated funding. This funding is the lifeline needed to safeguard both the health and the future of our communities,” affirmed Hon. Chiponda.

Throughout the workshop, participants from various sectors will engage in meaningful discussions to develop a shared understanding of the Africa common position on health and climate change. This united stance aims to shape policy decisions, drive advocacy efforts, and guide collaborative actions leading up to COP28.

For more information and media inquiries, please contact:

· Maureen Cherongis [email protected]

· Erick Achola [email protected]

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