Clim-Health Side Event at ICCS5: Roundtable Discussion

Cape Town, 3 March 2017

UCT_Panorama

Clim-Health Africa held a roundtable discussion on 3 March 2017 as a side event to the ICCS5. This marked an opportunity for Clim-Health Africa partners to come together, to take stock, and to think ahead to the future.

Starting with an overview of the history, goals and objectives, current members, and key activities of Clim-Health Africa, the roundtable discussion also highlighted recent global climate and health developments and their implications for Africa. Final topics included a review of the Clim-Health Africa priorities and updated work plan as well as next steps for the year 2017.

The results of this roundtable discussion included a number of agreements and suggestions. Roundtable discussion participants agreed that a 5-year progress report is needed to communicate the steps taken by, and challenges for Clim-Health Africa.  Furthermore, participants expressed that the work of national partners needs to be captured and documented better, and therefore a mechanism to track progress is needed. A suggested means to do so included direct outreach to members and also add an interactive element to the Clim-Health Africa website where partners can share information and report progress. Participants noted that there was a need for improved communication throughout the network. This was suggested to be done through a review of the V&As in the six ENACTS product countries. Additional connections between partners and projects included a number multi-country initiatives working together more closely, to share experiences, resources and information.

Beyond these suggestions and summaries of current activities, the roundtable discussion also emphasised how quickly health, environment and climate policy landscapes are evolving. Recent international policies are shaping international agendas: the SDGs; the Sendai Agreement, which promotes the importance of disaster risk reduction and early warning systems; and the Paris Agreement for climate adaptation and mitigation. Similarly, African development policy is developing quickly, including a distinct urban health agenda to address the unique risks in urban settings. Clim-Health Africa is being shaped by these developments and also has a clear role to play in terms of offering a platform for engagement for these policies and forums.

Recommendations for moving forward included:

  1. Strengthen Clim-Health Africa engagement and broaden its network with stronger outreach;
  2. Realign Clim-Health Mandate and work plan to support new health, climate, and environment agendas;
  3. Inform the Inter-Ministerial Conference on Health and Environment;
  4. Better address emerging themes for: training and education; outreach and engagement; information and services for action; and health security and emergency preparedness.

This article provides only a snapshot of some of the topics voiced by the participants. Discussion points were continued during the Clim-Health Africa roundtable meeting chaired by Dr Magaran Bagayoko of WHO AFRO. A full report of both the panel discussion and roundtable meeting will be uploaded shortly to www.climhealthafrica.org