PAHO Adopts Strategy and Action Plan on Climate Change

30 September 2011: The 51st Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) adopted a new strategy and action plan on climate change drafted by the PAHO Secretariat. These documents call on countries in the Americas to develop national climate change strategies with technical help from PAHO and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as national campaigns to increase awareness of the health risks of climate change.

On research and information, PAHO calls for: conducting assessments of the vulnerability of populations and population groups to climate change, and identifying appropriate adaptation measures; gathering evidence on the health impacts of climate change, with a focus on socioeconomic and gender inequities and vulnerable groups; and incorporating indicators for climate and environmental health in national surveillance systems to provide evidence to support decision-making and action to reduce climate-related health risks.

The strategy and action plan further call for, inter alia, improving regional, national and local capacity to respond to public health needs during climate-related emergencies, and creating new PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centers to study the health effects of climate change and to support national and regional capacity building in this area.

The Directing Council meets once a year between quinquennial sessions of PAHO's supreme governing authority, the Pan American Sanitary Conference, and acts on behalf of the Conference. [PAHO Press Release] [Regional Strategy and Action Plan]