The Impact of Climate Change on Health - What Role for MSF?

The concrete links between climate change and MSF's field of activities


  • Lancet Countdown report 2019
    The 2019 Report tracks the relationship between health and climate change across five key domains and 41 indicators.
    These materials represent the last 12 months of work from over 120 experts, representing 35 institutions across every continent.
  • MSF-OCB and climate change: so far behind ! ...
    Read this Volle Gas from Contact Magazine in French and English.
  • Climate emergency: a humanitarian call to action
    Please read this article by MSF-USA Executive Director Avril Benoît, published on in advance of the Climate Strike and UN Climate Action Summit.
  • Choices at the time of the climate emergency
    Bruno Jochum, François Delfosse, Maria Guevara, Léo L. Tremblay, and Carol Devine just published this article in the new issue of Humanitarian Alternatives focusing on Climate Changes.

    "Knowing about the discussions in progress at Médecins Sans Frontières, as well as the actions it intends to implement to adapt to climate change, provides precious insight. Though they speak in their own names, the five authors – from the Swiss and Canadian sections – say a lot about the ongoing debates within the movement, about the actions taken and about the possibilities for procrastination. Lessons that apply to the entire humanitarian community".
  • The last thematic “Flash” Climate, Environment and Health Series
    Those series include short articles and case studies by authors working across Médecins Sans Frontières and external contributors to share information and encourage dialogue and collaboration on humanitarian action including through a climate change and health lens.
  • "Climate change and health, an urgent new frontier for humanitarianism".
    This brief co-written by MSFers seeks to integrate the findings of the 2018 Lancet Countdown on Climate Change’s International Report with MSF’s on-the-ground experience in treating some of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
  • The 2018 Lancet Countdown report.
    This report brings together expertise from 27 academic institutions and UN agencies from every continent, reporting on 41 indicators of progress on health and climate change across five key domains (climate change impacts, exposures, and vulnerability; adaptation, planning, and resilience for health; mitigation actions and health co-benefits; finance and economics; and public and political engagement.).  
    The 2018 indicators detail an additional 157 million vulnerable people exposed to extreme heat in 2017, a staggering total of 153 billion hours of labour lost to heat in the same year (1.4% of China's total capacity, and 7% of India's), and a continued rise the capacity for the transmission of Dengue Fever, Malaria, and Vibrio Cholera.
    The report also covers the pace of the response, identifying key sectors showing promising signs, suggesting the beginning of a transition to a low-carbon economy.

    The 2017 Lancet Countdown Report
    Essex University article on the 2017 Lancet Countdown Report
  • "Climate, environment, and health: the elephant in MSF's Operational space": 
    discussion paper from MSF Canada in French and English
  • The IPCC chapter on climate change effects on human health
  • IGA 2017 Motion
    The wish to move in the direction of developing concrete capacities and expertise around the medical and humanitarian consequences of environmental degradation on
    health and of MSF’s impact on the environment" was expressed at the 2017 IGA in Jobourg and a motion was voted in this regard. Read the IGA Motion and background. 

  • IGA 2019 Motion
    The IGA in Dublin voted a motion requesting that MSF should commit to urgently address the increasing humanitarian consequences on vulnerable populations of environmental degradation, especially climate change, by making it an integral pillar of an MSF global institutional strategy and medical-operational policies. Read the IGA Motion and background.

  • MedOp Statement on Climate, Environment, Health TF Proposal (October 2019 Motion). Read it here!


On 06/10/2017, the Health Policy and Advocacy team in the Analysis Department organised a SPECIAL LUNCH EVENT in the frame of the 3rd MSF Internal Global Health Pop-up Meeting:

Climate change impacts health and the vulnerable populations MSF supports in many ways: Infectious diseases such as Malaria and Dengue, migrations flows, extreme weather events, malnutrition, access to safe drinking water ... the time to act is now (if not yesterday).

Dr. Nick Watts, the Executive Director of the presented the connections between public health and climate change.

Carol Devine and Sarah Lamb from MSF Canada presented preliminary results of a survey they are conducting on Climate - Health - MSF following motions at the MSF Canada General Assembly and International General Assembly.

Dr. Maria Guevara, MSF regional humanitarian representative in Asia, digged deeper into concrete links between climate change and MSF's field of activities.



Download the PPT presentation:
Carol Devine and Sarah Lamb (MSF CN) "Climate Extractives & Health Mapping Project" (CEH)


Watch James Orbinski's (MSF's International President 1998-2000)  intervention at the 2017 MSF CANADA GA on climate change and the implications for MSF!








By: Sophie Guillaumie