NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

International climate change and health seminar co-hosted by NDF

From left: James Close, the World Bank, Maria Neira, the WHO, Pasi Hellman, NDF
Photo: NDF
Photo: NDF
Photo: NDF
Photo: NDF

This week (19-20 May 2016) the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), the World Bank (WB) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are co-hosting a seminar in Helsinki bringing together health experts and development financers to discuss how projects addressing links between climate change and health should be planned and funded.

Scientific evidence clearly indicates that climate change will have devastating impacts on human health in the absence of adequate preventive and adaptive measures. This issue is an important emerging focus area for development finance. WHO has particularly emphasised the urgent need to improve our understanding of climate-health linkages, in order to build effective health policies and climate-resilient health systems.

NDF’s managing director Pasi Hellman highlights the importance of bringing key actors together to coordinate this work. “The health community already has a considerable body of analysis and assessments on the linkages between climate change and health. It is among the international financial institutions and the financial community where awareness of this existing knowledge is somehow lacking.”

The Helsinki seminar has attracted 54 participants representing major development banks, aid agencies, foundations, universities and NGOs, as well as the host organisations.

Under the theme Early experiences in multi-sectoral climate change and health work for international development: opportunities and finance, participants will share experiences and identify opportunities for the donor community to expand the capacity of health care providers to address foreseeable climate-related health challenges.

World Bank health and environment specialist Timothy Bouley emphasises that donors can learn a lot about foreseeable health impacts and related development needs through such meetings. “We hope participants will take important messages back to their institutions, and that development agencies will take on health and climate change as a core area for investment,” he says.  

The seminar will review various completed projects as well as the ongoing efforts of NDF, WB and WHO to pilot the funding and operationalisation of climate change and health programmes in vulnerable regions of Africa and SE Asia.