Regional Workshop on Health in National Action Plans for Climate Change

Bay Gardens Resort, Saint Lucia | 30-31 October 2017

“Tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.”[1] This is the central message of the second Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change answering the 2006 conclusion of the first Lancet Climate Change Commission, that “Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.”

PAHO/WHO has been working on climate change and health for over 20 years, building evidence and supporting countries to build resilience of their health systems, to facilitate modifications of current systems to reduce the health risks posed by climate variability and change. The Pan American/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is contributing its technical and programmatic expertise and experience to the implementation of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol (1997) and other relevant climate change treaties such as the 2015 Paris Agreement. 

Created under the global UNFCCC climate change agenda, the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process builds on the National Adaptation Programs of Action (NAPA) process that was designed to support least-developed countries (LDCs) to identify priority actions to respond to their urgent and immediate adaptation needs The NAP process is intended to provide support for medium- and long-term adaptation planning in LDCs and – more recently – to all developing countries.


PAHO/WHO is committed[2] to assist the health sector of its member states to work in a systematic process with partners in the environment and other related communities, to:

  1. Engage in the overall NAP process at the national level.
  2. Identify national strategic goals for building health resilience to climate change.
  3. Develop a national plan with prioritized activities to achieve these goals, within a specific time period and given available resources.


To achieve the goals of healthy people in healthy communities, it is critical that the health sector is properly represented in the NAP process. The WHO Operational Framework for building climate resilient health systems was designed as a tool to ensure that plans developed by countries are comprehensive enough so as to respond to medium- and long-term adaptation needs.


Furthering participation of the health sector and ensuring the development of comprehensive health adaptation plans will facilitate access by the health sector to national adaptation funds made available through the LDCF, adaptation fund (AF), green climate fund (GCF), and other funds. Coordination will also ensure that the health sector maximizes synergies and promotes health co-benefits across health determining sectors, such as energy, agriculture, housing and water.


The development of the Health component of the National Adaptation Plan (HNAP) will:

  1. ensure that the health sector is involved in the overall planning and negotiation process of adaptation to climate change,
  2. prepare and strengthen the health sector for the challenges resulting from impact of climate change on health and,
  3. facilitate the mobilization of resources related to adaptation to climate change

Purpose of the Workshop

  1. To increase countries capacity to formulate a Health Adaptation planning as part of the NAP (HNAP) process in-country;
  2. To take stock of what countries are doing on Health planning as part of the NAPs
  3. Exchange of experiences and lessons learnt in capacity building for the development of HNAPs;
  4. To increase understanding on inter-sectoral integration and related technical issues around the development, formulation and implementation of HNAPs, incl. cost-benefit analysis and gender;

Specifically the workshop will ensure that the participants understand that and are able to:

  1. The HNAP process is a country-driven process owned by the countries and part of the overall NAP process;
  2. Ensuring that health adaptation planning is based on the best available evidence.
  3. Any adaptation plan should aim at strengthening the development and availability of evidence, building the data and reducing knowledge gaps, and inform relevant policies.
  4. Building on existing national efforts towards health adaptation to climate change, including assessments, and development and implementation of policies and programs at local to national levels.
  5. Integrating health adaptation to climate change into national health planning strategies, processes, and monitoring systems.
  6. Providing for a flexible and context-specific approach to health adaptation to climate change. National circumstances and available information and experience on health and climate change will determine the scope, institutional arrangements, and resources required to proper implement the health component of the NAP.
  7. Maximizing synergies across sectors, mainly across those that determine health, such as the food, water, energy and housing sectors. This calls for developing relevant health indicators within the adaptation monitoring systems in these sectors, ensuring that health considerations are integrated into their adaptation planning to avoid maladaptation.
  8. Ensuring than the health adaption plan feeds into and coordinates with the overall NAP.
  9. Piloting approaches that promote an iterative process for health adaptation to climate change, producing time-bound plans.
  10. Promoting inter-country collaboration and harmonizing adaptation approaches at sub-regional levels.



The 2 day workshop will be interactive, with technical presentations, country contributions workgroup sessions and discussions.  Download agenda.


PAHO’s Technical Officer:

Adrianus (Ton) Vlugman

Senior Advisor, Water, Sanitation and Environmental Health, Caribbean

Office of Caribbean Program Coordination, PAHO/WHO

PO Box 508 Bridgetown, Barbados, BB11000

t: +1(246) 434 5200

CISCO 40042


CARPHA Technical Officer

Lyndon Forbes

[1] The Lancet, November 2015

[2] PAHO/WHO Strategy and Plan of Action on Climate Change CD51/6, Rev. 1, 30 September 2011 and CD53/INF/6_18 August 2014