Webinar 2: Capacity and Training Needs for Integrated Climate Change and Health Research, Advocacy, and Action in Africa
Global developmental challenges have grown increasingly complex and multisectoral. Consequently, they cannot be effectively addressed by a single sector or institution. The experience of dealing with the global pandemic, COVID-19, highlights the intricate connections between urgent health concerns and ongoing or emerging issues, such as climate change and broader developmental objectives. Therefore, health responses that focus on current challenges can serve as a pathway towards a low-carbon and resilient future. This approach can help mitigate the threats to health posed by accelerated climate change and, in turn, ensure enhanced health outcomes through the co-benefits of climate action.
The urgency of establishing a transdisciplinary research and action agenda on climate change and health is evident, given the current challenges experienced by society within the human-environmental system. This urgency arises from the fact that transdisciplinary research (TDR) is capable of addressing complex problems that may not be effectively resolved through traditional scientific approaches. TDR offers practical solutions for dealing with contentious issues that carry high stakes. This initiative is also a key component of Wellcome’s Climate & Health strategy, which seeks to place health at the core of climate action, with a strong emphasis on enhancing health outcomes for individuals in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) who bear the greatest impact of global climate change.
In Africa, the drivers and solutions for both health and climate challenges co-exist within the same social context and are complementary. On one hand, there are relatively well-established climate research communities, and on the other, there are robust health communities. However, the practice of transdisciplinary research and action in the field of climate in Africa is still in its early stages. This field is particularly emerging in low- and middle-income countries, which currently receive only a small portion of the available funding for addressing climate change. There is limited understanding of the gaps and opportunities for catalyzing integrated research and action in health and climate change.
To accelerate efforts in addressing climate change and health, it is imperative to devote dedicated resources to enhancing the capacity and skills required to generate evidence and develop programs and policies that effectively address the interconnected challenges of climate change and health. This webinar, therefore, centres on the topic of Capacity and Training Needs for integrated Climate Change and Health research, advocacy, and action in Africa, scheduled for October 27, 2023, from 3:00 to 4:30 PM EAT. The webinar forms a part of a series entitled ‘Enabling Transdisciplinary Research and Action in Health and Climate Change in Africa,’ which contributes to Wellcome-funded consultations on Transdisciplinary Research and Action in Health and Climate Change in Africa. These consultations involve the integration of knowledge from various scientific disciplines and non-academic stakeholder communities.
The webinar aims to assess the capacity and training requirements of diverse stakeholder groups, including governments, researchers, policy influencers, advocates, the general public, and communicators.
The specific objectives are as follows:
- To explore the capacity-building needs of different stakeholders in order to enhance integrated climate and health research and action.
- To analyze the current initiatives aimed at addressing these needs, as well as the models being employed, while considering their strengths and weaknesses.
- To identify novel and innovative models for capacity building that can fortify and expedite integrated climate change and health action in Africa.
We recognize that collaborating closely with key stakeholders from various levels and sectors to pinpoint capacity and training needs is pivotal in establishing comprehensive policies and programs that address climate change and health concerns in an integrated fashion. This aligns with Africa’s Agenda 2063, the Africa Climate Change and Development Strategy, and Wellcome’s commitment to enhancing capacity across all stakeholders in the climate change and health ecosystem.