Climate change entails a wide variety of public health risks. Authorities and other stakeholders thus need to understand current and projected impacts of climate change and their implications for health in order to prepare and implement a variety of responses to ensure an optimal level of adaptation. Examples of such responses include early warning systems, emergency management plans and provisions and health systems strengthening; other preventive measures include safer housing, flood protection, vector control and improved surveillance.
The WHO Regional Office for Europe prepared this economic analysis tool to support health adaptation planning in Member States. It is based on a review of the science, with substantive input from several experts in the field. It is expected to be applied in Member States mainly by line ministries responsible for climate change adaptation. It will enable analysts at both regional and country level to generate better, more standardized economic data, help build vital capacity for health economic assessments and provide a link to decision-makers. The health impacts of climate change not only cause suffering but also entail avoidable economic costs. Adequate adaptation can reduce those costs and even bring additional economic benefits through hitherto unrealized opportunities. Economic data can help decision-makers to stress the benefits of adaptation, strengthening the case for early action against climate change.
This tool will support the efforts of WHO Member States to meet the commitment to act made at the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, act on World Health Assembly resolution WHA62.19 and implement the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The WHO Regional Office for Europe prepared this economic analysis tool as a support for adaptation planning for health in Member States. Specifically, it will assist in:
- estimating the costs of health damage due to climate change at national and subnational levels;
- estimating the costs of health-relevant adaptation to climate change at national and subnational levels;
- comparing the cost of health damage averted with the cost of adaptation measures, in order to reach conclusions on value for money.
This tool is intended for use by health or environment managers and stakeholders in estimating health damage and adaptation costs. It is expected that it will be used mainly in ministries responsible for climate change adaptation, including ministries of health. Government departments can expect to be supported, if necessary, by academic institutions and other partners with strong technical and analytical skills in applying the principles, including possible support from international partners (other governments or multilateral agencies). The document might also provide useful information for universities and others involved in assessing health-related impacts of climate change.