UWI, CCCCC sign agreement with PAHO

UWI, CCCCC sign agreement with PAHO

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and the Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) have signed an agreement with the sub-regional office of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to enhance coordination and increase the climate resilience of health systems in the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) countries.

The UWI and CCCCC are the first of five partners to sign under the EU/CARIFORUM Strengthening Climate Resilient Health Systems Project which is aimed at better preparing for and responding to climate threats. The initiative is funded by the European Union.

The other partners are the Caribbean Community, the Caribbean Public Health Agency and the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology & Hydrology, along with three United Nations agencies - UN Environment, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations Development Programme.

The UWI will focus on creating an interdisciplinary cadre of 16 climate change fellows from across the region who are trained in climate change, health and leadership.

It is expected that the establishment of this network will facilitate collaboration and support of local leadership initiatives spearheaded by the climate fellows under the programme. UWI will also assist PAHO to track Caribbean public perceptions on climate and health over the next five years and increase public awareness and visibility.

Professor in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the UWI-St Augustine and chair of the Technical Working Group - Climate Change and One Health Leadership, Chris Oura said the university is pleased to be partnering with PAHO on this timely and important EU-funded project.

“Through our fellowship programme, which we hope to kick-off in the first half of 2021, we plan to develop a cadre of leaders in climate change and health from across the 16 participating countries," he said.

For its part, the CCCCC, which coordinates the Caribbean region's response to climate change and provides climate change-related policy advice and guidelines, will support countries in developing health adaptation funding proposals and create opportunities for heightened awareness on the links between climate change and health using various communication channels.

“Since, in the ultimate analysis, climate change impacts the various dimensions of human health, we view this project as another important avenue to fulfil our mandate to assist Caribbean countries in building resilience to the impacts of climate change by empowering our people to act on climate change,” explained Vincent Peter, project development specialist at the CCCCC.

The EU/CARIFORUM Strengthening Climate Resilient Health Systems Project assists countries in countering the health impacts of climate change and advocate for their prioritisation at the national level. To do this, representatives from the health sector in each country will support the preparation of a health chapter in the National Adaptation Plans (H-NAP) through engagement with other national partners and following a systematic process based upon PAHO/WHO-UNFCCC guidance.

“This will ensure that the Caribbean sub-region is better prepared for changes in health outcomes influenced by climate change, assess the current effectiveness of current programmes to manage the health risks of climate variability/change; and make projections of health burdens related to future climate scenarios,” the partners have said.

PAHO said one of the upcoming milestones for the project will be the hosting of a virtual workshop, scheduled for December 2, for national focal points in climate change, health, and environmental health; as well as National Designated Authorities from beneficiary countries; and universities.

The session will focus on reaching an understanding of the current sub-regional state of H-NAP development, best practices and mechanisms to facilitate this process, and agree to set quality control criteria. Over the course of the next four years numerous CARIFORUM countries will receive support through this EU/CARIFORUM grant to develop the H-NAP and subsequent proposals for health adaptation projects.

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