Climate Change Resilience

Leaders from around the world gathered in the United Arab Emirates for the 28th international climate change negotiations,COP28. For the first time ever, a dedicated Health Day was included in the two-week program to raise the profile of climate-related health impacts and the funding needed to protect health systems globally. 

Critical to climate-resilient health systems is a prepared health workforce and an understanding across government ministries and departments about the potential health impacts and co-benefits of climate-influencing policies. 

The Pacific Climate Change Centre (PCCC) and the University of Melbourne have been contributing to regional capacity building of climate and health leaders through an Australia Awards Fellowship program on climate, health and equity funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

To share learnings from the six-week Fellowship program, Ms ‘Ofa Kaisamy, Manager of the PCCC and the University’s Professor Kathryn Bowen presented in a side event at the World Health Organization’s Pavilion at COP28. 

The panellists discussed the critical importance and multiple benefits of regional capacity building to achieve transformative climate action through cross-country knowledge exchange, networking, and partnership development on climate, health and equity.

The distinctive cohort of fifteen leaders from eleven Indo-Pacific countries are interdisciplinary and intersectoral, representing ministries of health, climate change, energy, emergency management, finance, and infrastructure. Given the cross-sectoral nature of climate change, multisectoral knowledge of climate-related health impacts is vital for climate-resilient decision-making that maximises the health and wellbeing of communities. 

Key to the program’s success is facilitating enduring relationships following the Australian program delivery through a regional Community of Practice, where the cohort can continue to share learnings and exchange effective strategies on addressing the harmful health impacts of climate change in their respective jurisdictions. 

While in Australia, the Fellows have each developed a policy or practice output based on local needs and priorities with the support of a University mentor, for implementation upon return home. The cohort will reconvene for a workshop led by PCCC in Samoa in February 2024 to report on their implementation achievements, and to troubleshoot any challenges they have faced.

The Australia Awards Fellowship program on climate change, health and equity serves as an example of an effective model for regional capacity building on critical issues of importance for regional stability. 

To learn more about the ‘Advancing Climate, Health, and Equity Outcomes through Local Action in the Indo-Pacific’ Australia Awards program and our visiting Fellows, visit the Climate CATCH Lab’s website for updates

For more information about the PCCC please contact [email protected]
The Pacific Climate Change Centre (PCCC) is the regional Centre of excellence for climate change information, research, capacity building, and innovation, hosted at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in Apia, Samoa. As a Centre of excellence, the PCCC is mandated to provide practical information, support, and training to address the adaptation and mitigation priorities of Pacific Island communities. 

The PCCC is underpinned by strong partnerships with Pacific Governments, applied research institutions, donors, civil society, and the private sector. The PCCC is a partnership between the Governments of Japan and Samoa. It is funded under grant aid through JICA for Samoa as the host country of SPREP. Additionally, the Centre receives generous funding and support from the Governments of New Zealand, and Australia.