Authored by Health Care Without Harm, this briefing paper for policy makers identifies some of the main elements for incorporating a comprehensive health perspective in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) presented by countries as climate action commitments under the Paris Agreement. Its goal is to guide national governments who are developing or updating their NDCs to incorporate key considerations – in their narrative, objectives and measures – which would enable them to mobilize the health sector to tackle the climate crisis.
From a mitigation perspective, we suggest following Argentina's example, as it is the first country in the world to expressly incorporate the commitment to estimate its health sector's climate footprint and take measures toward reducing it in their NDC. In order to do so, we stress the importance of using robust methodologies to establish a baseline and translating results into sectoral plans and roadmaps aimed at the complete decarbonization of health services by 2050.
From an adaptation perspective, we encourage addressing a wide spectrum of possible impacts of climate change on people's health, and identify necessary actions to assess the vulnerability and strengthen the resilience of the health sector's operations and infrastructure, as well as that of the communities they serve.