The Rockefeller Foundation Commits USD 100 Million To Test and Scale Climate and Health Solutions Globally

The Rockefeller Foundation is announcing a USD 100 million commitment to address the health impacts of climate change. Joining 40 multilateral development banks, governments, philanthropies, and civil society organizations, the Foundation also endorsed the Guiding Principles for Financing Climate and Health Solutions, launched today at the World Climate Action Summit, to accelerate investments in and policy development on climate-health solutions that increase country ownership, accessibility, and long-term impact.

“Health is the human face of climate change, and Health Day at COP28 is a historic moment for health and climate leaders to commit to advancing the well-being of the 3.3 billion people who are most vulnerable to climate change,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “With this commitment, the Foundation and our partners are rising to the occasion to help save lives and improve health outcomes in a warming world.”

Equitable Financing to Support Country Priorities 

The inaugural Health Day at COP28 marks a significant step in prioritizing the importance of climate and health on a global scale. The Rockefeller Foundation is committed to amplifying this impact through collaboration with its partners to increase the quantity and effectiveness of financing focused on supporting the efforts of low- and middle-income countries to mitigate, withstand, and respond to the escalating impacts of climate change on health. Though more than 90% of countries including health-focused priorities as part of their National Determined Contributions for climate mitigation and adaptation under the Paris Agreement, recent data suggests only 0.5% of climate financing is allocated toward health projects.  Moreover, countries face a bevy of requirements – unique to each funder and imposed on them – when attempting to access funding.

The newly released Guiding Principles for Financing Climate and Health Solutions seek to address this financing gap by establishing priorities for funding and policy to support the building of resilient and sustainable health systems. The Principles seek to ensure that countries gain increased access to climate-health financing that is responsive to their people’s needs and priorities, especially the most vulnerable. The Republic of Malawi, for example, has endorsed these principles, and will drive climate and health financing accordingly in its Malawi Agenda 2063.

The COP28 Presidency in partnership with The Green Climate Fund, the World Health Organization, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and The Rockefeller Foundation developed the Guiding Principles, which were informed by a convening hosted at The Rockefeller Foundation during the United Nations General Assembly.  In addition to those partners, more than 50 organizations across climate, finance, health, government, and civil society sectors provided input.  Along with the initiating organizations, fellow endorsers include: Adaptation Fund; Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention; The Africa Climate Foundation; African Development Bank Group; Amazon Conservation Team Columbia; Amref Health Africa; Asia Venture Philanthropy Network; Belmont Forum; Children’s Investment Fund Foundation; Clara Lionel Foundation; Clean Air Fund; Clinton Health Access Initiative; Commonwealth Secretariat; COP28 Presidency;  European Investment Bank; Foundation S – The Sanofi Collective; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; Global Climate and Health Alliance; Global Environment Facility; The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Government of the United Kingdom, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office; Green Climate Fund; Health Care Without Harm; Hivos; The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Institute of Philanthropy; IMPACT Europe; International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; Kingdom of Norway, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; OECD Development Centre, Network of Foundations; Pandemic Action Network; PATH; Reaching the Last Mile; Republic of Malawi, Ministry of Health; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; The Rockefeller Foundation; Save the Children; Seed Global Health; UNICEF; Wellcome Trust; World Bank Group; and World Health Organization.

Improving Health for All in a Warming World

From its earliest days more than a century ago, The Rockefeller Foundation has sought to improve health outcomes for populations in need. Investments established the first schools of public health and the global campaign against hookworm; and seeded the development of the yellow fever vaccine. The Foundation has also supported translational research for tools ranging from penicillin to polio, helped create the field of molecular biology, spurred AIDS vaccine development, supported Covid-19 responses and pathogen surveillance, and catalyzed and accelerated action on Universal Health Coverage globally.

The funding is part of The Rockefeller Foundation’s recently announced 5-year Climate Strategy, announced in September, to mobilize USD 1 billion over the next five years to advance the global climate transition and help ensure everyone can participate in it. The USD 100 million climate-health investment will reimagine The Rockefeller Foundation’s 110-year legacy in global health for the climate era, seeking to test and scale promising solutions through innovation, equitable financing, policy, and partnerships:

  • Community-driven Innovation: The Foundation is deepening its commitment to health equity by ensuring that the voices and needs of the most vulnerable – women, children, indigenous people, displaced people – are reflected in global climate and health priorities and solutions.
  • Sustainable Financing: The Foundation is working with global donors, development banks, country leaders, and diverse stakeholders to ensure that frontline communities get the financial assistance they need to adapt to climate change in line with the Guiding Principles. We’re committed to shaping the market for climate-health investment to support transparent and equitable financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Policy and Partnerships: As a convener and innovator, the Foundation helps merge the priorities of the private sector, government, and the non-profit sector to strengthen our collective response to climate change. Learnings and data from our investments will contribute to the evidence base about what solutions works to inform and drive action.

“When it comes to building a livable future, we all have parts to play,” said Naveen Rao, Senior Vice President of Health, The Rockefeller Foundation. “Across our commitments, we’re developing and strengthening networks focused on reversing the climate crisis and safeguarding health for generations. We’re grateful to Reaching the Last Mile, The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Institute of Philanthropy, and other emerging partners for taking up this cause and joining the collective effort.”

Statements of Support

  • “Climate change is increasing health risks in every region of the world, including millions more people at risk of heat-related illness, food insecurity, infectious diseases, and poverty. A significant mobilization of financing is needed to combat these impacts, which to date have been under-recognized and under-funded. The COP28 Guiding Principles for Financing Climate and Health Solutions is the critical first step to address this, bringing new funders to the table in recognition of the urgent need. We are grateful for our partners stepping up to deliver finance where it is needed most.” – Adnan Amin, CEO of COP28
  • “The impact of climate change on health is not in the distant future, it’s here and now. Yet countries lack sufficient resources to adapt health systems for the challenges posed by this crisis. I commend The Rockefeller Foundation for addressing the harm happening today, for unlocking financing for stronger, more resilient health systems, and for making clear that supporting health is an investment, not a cost.” – Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization
  • “The Institute of Philanthropy (IoP), established and supported by The Hong Kong Jockey Club and its Charities Trust, is committed to work at the intersection of climate and health. IoP shares The Rockefeller Foundation’s vision for a climate future that mitigates and adapts to the impact of climate on health for the benefit of everyone, everywhere. Together with fellow funders in the East as well as globally, IoP will leverage its convening capabilities and financial resources to protect future generations from climate change through enhancing resilience and enabling adaptation.” – Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges GBS JP, Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Jockey Club
  • “I applaud The Rockefeller Foundation’s commitment to addressing the Health impacts of climate change. This significant investment, along with the Guiding Principles for Financing Climate and Health Solutions, is pivotal in supporting Climate-Vulnerable countries as they shape Healthier and more Resilient futures. The Foundation’s dedication to tailoring Climate-Health investments to align with the specific needs of countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the broader Global South will foster impactful and sustainable action to protect communities against the effects of climate change.” – Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, MP – Minister of Health, Malawi.

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