Marshall Islands partners with WHO to increase resilience to climate change and pandemics – Marshall Islands

The Ministry of Health and Human Services (MOHHS) and the Climate Change Directorate (CCD) of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) join forces with the World Health Organization (WHO) to combat the health effects of climate change and improve preparedness for future health emergencies, including the next pandemic.

The 18 month project Improving the resilience of health systems to climate change and emerging pandemics in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, aims to ensure that the health system can continue to serve patients in the face of climate change. With financial support of US$399,802 from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the IRM Government and WHO will also focus on strengthening the preparedness of IRM remote and outlying islands to protect health and save lives in future crises. This is the first GCF-funded, health sector-led preparedness project in a Pacific island country.

“We are delighted to be working with WHO and the Green Climate Fund on this new venture that will protect the people of the Marshall Islands, especially in the outer islands, from the health effects of climate change and other emergencies.” , said the Honorable Joe Bejang, Minister of Health and Social Services. “About 640 healthcare professionals will benefit from the support offered under this project, including training, support and communication tools. In addition, as the project focuses on improving the resilience of the health system, as well as reducing climate-related health risks, the project will indirectly benefit the entire population.

As the WHO report to COP26 indicates, climate change is the number one health threat to humanity. Climate change has the potential to cause a range of significant health impacts, including increased risk of waterborne diseases (eg diarrheal diseases) and vector-borne diseases (eg dengue) , an increase in food and water insecurity leading to nutritional problems, and disruption of health systems due to climate-induced extreme weather events and rising sea levels.

“Like the rest of the Pacific, the Marshall Islands is on the frontline of the climate crisis,” said Dr Mark Jacobs, director of technical support for the Pacific at WHO. “Evidence shows the country is already facing increased drought, sea level rise and flooding – all of which have health impacts. But the country is also on the forefront to adapt and respond to this crisis. This is why we are proud to work with the Marshallese government on this project, with the support of the Green Climate Fund. Together, we can increase the resilience of the health system and save Lives.

Established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010, the GCF is the world’s largest dedicated climate fund with a mandate to help developing countries adopt low-emissions pathways and resilient to climate change.

“We are grateful for this opportunity to be able to access the GCF Preparedness Support Program to help the Marshall Islands, in partnership with WHO, build capacity and develop their long-term plans to address climate change. . Despite all the challenges we have faced during the pandemic, it is through cooperation and partnership that we have been able to come this far. We look forward to seeing where this project takes the Marshall Islands and the lessons learned in building resilience of the country’s health system in the face of climate variability and change,” said Mr. Clarence Samuel, Executive Director of the Climate Change and the Designated National Authority of the Green Climate Fund. .

“Preparedness initiatives are so important to the countries GCF serves and build the capacity of some of the world’s most vulnerable states to respond effectively to climate change. In this regard, we are pleased to partner with WHO and the Marshall Islands on this project to ensure climate-resilient health systems. By funding preparedness activities today, we are helping the Marshall Islands be more secure tomorrow,” said Ms. Samantha Rabine, Regional Manager for Asia and the Pacific on behalf of Ms. Carolina Fuentes, Director of Programming Division per country to the Green Climate Fund. .

About the Green Climate Fund:

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is the largest dedicated climate fund in the world. The mandate of the GCF is to foster a paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways in developing countries. The GCF has a portfolio of projects and programs in over 100 countries. It also has a preparedness support program to build capacity and help countries develop long-term plans to address climate change. The GCF is an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and serves the 2015 Paris Agreement, supporting the goal of keeping the average global temperature increase well in below 2 degrees Celsius.

About who:

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the United Nations specialized agency for international public health. In the Pacific, WHO’s Pacific Technical Support Division provides tailored and timely support to 21 Pacific island countries and areas. Our main office is in Suva, Fiji, and the Division has six other offices in the region: Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Media Contacts

Scott Craig
Communications Specialist
Green Climate Fund
Email: [email protected]

Lauren O’Connor
Technical Officer (Communications, Resource Mobilization and External Relations)
WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific – Pacific Technical Support Division
Telephone: +679 777 9733
Email: [email protected]

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