Jamaica Takes Bold Steps To Build A Climate-Resilient, Low-Carbon Health System

16 Nov 2021

Kingston, Jamaica, November 16, 2021 (PAHO/WHO) - Jamaica has joined 50 other countries to participate in the COP26 Health Programme, a global initiative to develop climate-resilient and low-carbon health systems during the UN climate summit in Glasgow (COP26).

The COP26 Health Programme is a partnership between the World Health Organization /WHO, the Government of the United Kingdom, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Climate Champions, and health groups such as Health Care Without Harm. Under the international programme, Jamaica will develop a National Adaptation Plan for health.

“The future of health must be built on health systems that are resilient to the impacts of epidemics, pandemics and other emergencies, but also to the impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events and the increasing burden of various diseases related to air pollution and our warming planet,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said in a press release to announce the commitments.

Jamaica previously conducted a climate and health vulnerability adaptation assessment. Moving forward, the country will:

  • Continued assessment of the vulnerability of the health system to climate change
  • Publish an action plan to develop a sustainable low carbon health system
  • Devise a plan to reduce health sector emissions

Mr. Ian Stein, PAHO/WHO Representative to Jamaica, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, commended Jamaica on its move towards building a climate-resilient health system.

“The impact of climate change on the social and environmental determinants of health is a major priority. We are therefore pleased that the Government of Jamaica has taken these bold steps to build a health system that considers the holistic health of the nation.”

He continued, “PAHO continues to assist the Government of Jamaica through its SMART hospitals partnerships focus on improving hospitals’ resilience, strengthening structural and operational aspects, and providing green technologies”.

Health care sectors contribute about 5 % of the world’s total carbon emissions. The figure takes into account the operations of health care facilities, including energy supply, and the medical supply chain, including the pharmaceutical industry.

Other countries in the region participating in the COP26 Health Programme include Argentina, The Bahamas, Belize, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Panama, Peru and the United States.