A focus on health at the ICCS5

28 February – 2 April 2017


Climate change will affect many aspects of life, and will require a response that bridges many sectors and communities. Climate health impacts are anticipated to be greatest in Africa, where existing social, political, environmental and economic conditions will further exacerbate serious climate health vulnerabilities for communities.

The Fifth International Conference on Climate Services (ICCS5) was held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 28 February to 2 April. This event brought together experts  including researchers, programme managers and policy makers. Participants were drawn from the climate services community and included those working at the junction between climate services and some of the sectors most affected by climate change. This is a fairly new and technically focused, yet diverse community, with plenty of hunger for exchanging information and creating new networks. The conference helped to facilitate this, as well as building capacity, strengthening networks, and reviewing the “State of the art” in terms of climate services.

What are climate services?

According to the Climate Services Partnership, climate services “involve the production, translation, transfer and use of climate knowledge and information in climate-informed decisions making and climate-smart policy and planning”. This is primarily the production of climate modeling data that can be used in fields such as agriculture, water and health to develop appropriate adaption measures in line with predicted climatic changes.

Signalling an increased recognition for working at the interface of climate and health, Clim-Health Africa and its partners had a strong presence at the conference. This was the first time this community had so many special events and sessions at the conference. These are some of the events that featured Clim-Health Africa and its partners:

ClimHealth panel discussion

A panel discussion

ClimHealth roundtable

A roundtable discussion


Individual presentations

Poster session1

Poster presentation

ENACTS side event

ENACTS side event

ClimHealth Marketplace


The panel discussion, hosted by Clim-Health Africa, brought together experts from the field to discuss the history, approach, and goals of Clim-Health Africa. The panel discussion aimed to identify emerging issues, particularly in relation to climate services and country needs in emergency management, which the Clim-Health Africa Network can help respond to. The Clim-Health roundtable was chaired by Dr Magaran Bagayoko of the WHO Africa Regional Office and focal point for Clim-Health Africa. This event focused on the achievements of the network over the past 5 years, and a way forward for the consortium.

Beyond these high-level events coordinated by Clim-Health at the ICCS5 there were a number of innovative presentations and discussions that outlined the unique needs of addressing climate change and health in the African continent. Topics ranged from early warning systems and prediction models for health impacts of climate variability to disaster preparedness and response, as well as capacity building and impact assessment mapping through national health sectors. Of particular note were the ENACTS maprooms, which combine satellite and land surveillance data for climate health responsiveness in a number of African countries. Presenters from across the continent showcased groundbreaking examples from the field, as well as lessons learned and successes of climate services on the national and district levels in Africa. At the ICCS5 and looking forward, Clim-Health Africa has emerged as an important network for addressing the impacts of climate change on health.

“Each actor contributes a functional role to achieving climate services.”

Dr Arame Tall (GFCS Regional Coordinator, Africa) ICCS5, 28.02.0217