The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has joined the global membership of the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership (REAP) to help contribute to REAP’s aim of ensuring that 1 billion people are safer from disasters by 2025.
REAP brings together an unprecedented range of stakeholders across the climate, humanitarian, and development communities, and as of 2022, REAP counts more than 70 Partners from Member States, UN agencies, intergovernmental organisations, networks, civil society, academia, and the private sector.
UKHSA will work with REAP Partners to help tackle the increasing frequency and intensity of climate change health threats, including taking forward the UNDRR/ISC Hazard Definition and Classification report (2020) and the UNDRR/ISC Hazard Information Profiles (2021). UKHSA’s newly launched Centre for Climate and Health Security (CCHS) will be a leading force in this effort.
Across the world climate change poses one of the greatest health security threats we face, impacting the air we breathe, the quality and availability of our food and water, the risk of infectious diseases and wider impacts on our mental health and wellbeing.
UKHSA and its predecessor agencies have been studying social solutions to protecting health and adapting to the health impacts of climate change for many years, involving work on extreme weather through to surveillance programmes to understand the changing disease risk posed by mosquitoes and ticks.
UKHSA’s Centre for Climate and Health Security, under the leadership of its new head Professor Lea Berrang Ford, aims to add real value to its partners and colleagues, offering scientific advice and support to ensure that the impacts of climate change are considered and embedded in the design and delivery of climate change policies across local and national government and with international partners.
Key domestic projects include contributing to the UK Government’s 3rd National Adaptation Programme which sets out the actions that the government and others will take to adapt to the challenges of climate change in England over a five-year period.
The Centre will also publish a Single Adverse Weather and Health Plan in 2023 and the fourth iteration of Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK, a landmark report produced periodically and last published in 2012, which provides analysis of a range of threats to our health.
UKHSA also has an extensive and successful track record in hazard risk assessment and supports the implementation of impact-based forecasting and health emergency and disaster risk management.
As a REAP Partner, UKHSA, its Centre for Climate and Health Security and its wider network are also working to support the global community to spearhead new action to ensure every person on Earth is protected by early warning systems within five years, as identified by the commitment made by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on March 23rd, 2022.