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Filed under: Environment Health HIV

child under net

We can now apply these methods of greenhouse gas accounting far beyond Europe and Central Asia (Photo: Joydeep Mukherjee)

Climate change is everyone’s problem – and we are stepping up.

UNDP is fully committed to reducing the carbon footprint of all programmes.

When it comes to HIV, health and development – we’re working to deliver the vital services that millions count on – while at the same time minimizing their environmental impacts.

The first step

In 2013, together with Arup, we conducted the first-ever carbon footprint assessment of a major global health initiative.

Using UNDP and Global Fund’s HIV and tuberculosis grants in Montenegro and Tajikistan as examples, this study looked at how we can identify where greenhouse gas emissions can be cut.

The report received a very positive response from across the global health community, garnering recognition in the Guardian’s 2014 Sustainable Business Awards.

Managing our climate change risk: An approach for environmental safeguarding

The second step, with bigger shoes

Our latest study reveals that we can make our greenhouse gas strategy viable, not only for Europe and Central Asia, but sub-Saharan Africa too. 

This would apply to Global Fund grant totaling up to US $400 million, and go beyond HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis to include malaria and health systems strengthening components

In our analyses of the HIV/AIDS grants, we found that the main contributors to the carbon footprint were pharmaceuticals, lab equipment, and early programme establishment activities, such as in-country trainings.

Pharmaceuticals and medical equipment also made up a significant piece of the carbon footprint of the tuberculosis grants, at one third. Other main contributors include trainings and vehicle procurement.

The malaria grants proved to be quite different from the others, with almost half of their carbon footprint attributed to the procurement of medical and lab equipment, like long-lasting insecticidal nets and insecticides for indoor spraying. Other contributors included business travel and trainings.

In total, the grants examined have produced greenhouse gas emission liabilities of 763,467 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, with an estimated $ 22.8 million in social costs of carbon, or 3-4 percent of the total grant investment.

A triple-win

We now have a more refined, less complex tool that provides a clearer and more intuitive interface, along with standardised outputs tailored for the Global Fund’s New Funding Model.

Together with the introduction of environmental safeguarding policies, global health financing agencies and institutions can now get closer to achieve a triple-win in social, economic, and environmental impact for every dollar spent in global health aid.

A series of five additional studies – examining priority areas for emission reduction strategies and action for global health programmes – have also been carried out.

Stay tuned for our next blog posts where we dig a little further into what they have to say.