Commonwealth and PATH rally global leaders for One Health approach in climate battle

09 May 2024
Press release
Julia Gillard

Today, global leaders, policymakers, and experts convened at the Commonwealth Secretariat’s London headquarters to address the critical intersection of human and planetary health in the face of escalating climate change.

Organised by the Secretariat and PATH, the event titled "One Health Approach: Moving from Siloed Thinking to Smart and Systemic Action", featured a keynote address by the Former Prime Minister of Australia and Chairperson of the Wellcome Trust, Hon Julia Gillard.

In her keynote address, Gillard highlighted the role of the Commonwealth in advocating for global health, stressing the importance of coordinated action to strengthen health systems through a ‘One Health’ approach. This approach emphasises an integrated strategy that balances and optimises the health of humans, animals, and ecosystems. 

"Climate change is now a critical factor in every health issue, making it imperative to put health at the heart of climate change action. Despite challenges such as competing crises and uncertainty, leadership must focus on making what needs to happen possible.

Health research shows that transitioning to renewable energy and reducing emissions will save millions of lives annually and prevent a myriad of health issues. Adaptation to unavoidable climate change impacts is also essential, requiring investments in resilient infrastructure and innovative solutions," she said.

In collaboration with PATH, the Commonwealth Secretariat has established an Accelerator for Resilience in Climate-Health (ARCH). It is an end-to-end accelerator platform that scopes, finances, and deploys technologies for climate change adaptation, mitigation, and resilience, to improve public health outcomes in the 56 Commonwealth nations and other high-burden countries.

In her opening remarks, Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, emphasised the urgent need for collaborative efforts to combat climate change, stating:

"We need a paradigm shift, which transcends traditional silos to achieve a more holistic approach, one which places the well-being of all life and ecosystems at the forefront of our collective efforts. Through our Commonwealth Environment Ministers, climate and health interventions, and the Accelerator for Resilience in Climate-Health (ARCH) initiative, we are advocating for a holistic, non-siloed, solutions-focused approach.”

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, delivered the opening remarks.

ARCH has built a pipeline of over 20 high-impact innovations including:

  1. Climate-informed AI based Dengue Early Warning Systems which leverages weather parameters like rainfall, temperature, humidity, and historical case data to develop 4-week predictive risk maps at district and sub-district levels to guide outbreak response and integrated vector control management in response to climate-induced case surges of Dengue;
  2. A Disease outbreak intelligence platform which offers real-time tracking of multiple datasets and supports global emerging biothreat monitoring in 65 languages and develops predictive models for decision-making for potential climate-induced spread of pandemic-scale outbreaks;
  3. Smart Mosquito Control and Management devices that examine and detect mosquito species to share critical alerts with decision-makers on impending vector-borne disease outbreaks due to changing climatic conditions; and
  4. Point-of-care rapid Dengue and Chikungunya Detection kits to fast-track community-level screening and testing during disease outbreaks exacerbated by climate change, aiding in early-stage disease management.

Innovations such as those included in ARCH can make a huge difference across the Commonwealth, which stretches across five continents and encompasses a third of humanity.

The event brought together other influential figures including HE Dr Youk Sambath, Secretary of State, Ministry of Health, Cambodia; The Hon Samantha Marshall, Minister of Health, Wellness, Social Transformation and the Environment, Antigua and Barbuda; Mr Joe Cerrell, Managing Director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Dr Lutz Hegemann, President, Global Health and Sustainability, Novartis, Switzerland and many more.

The event held at Marlborough House signals the shift towards smart, systemic, and collaborative action to address the interconnected challenges of climate change and public health. Commonwealth health ministers will also meet later this month in Geneva, where  strategies to protect people's health from the effects of climate change will be high on the agenda.

Media contact

  • Rena Gashumba  Communications Adviser, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
  • T: +44 7483 919 968  |  E-mail