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Climate and Health Opportunity Primer: An investment opportunity for social investors

In a world increasingly confronted by the intricate challenges posed by climate change, we have supported AVPN and Dalberg Advisers in the creation of the ‘Climate and Health Opportunity Primer’ to highlight the need for social investments to support climate adaptation related to human health. The document identifies opportunities for financial and non-financial support that can be deployed by social investors such as philanthropies, impact investors, and socially responsible corporate investors.





AVPN is the largest network of social investors in Asia, comprising over 600 diverse members across 33 markets. Its mission is to increase the flow and effectiveness of financial, human, and intellectual capital in Asia by enabling members to channel resources towards impact. As an ecosystem builder, AVPN connects, learns, acts, and leads across key pillars and improves the effectiveness of capital deployed; bringing to bear the local field needs, regional expertise, and policy insights.


The impact of climate change on human health is significant. It requires urgent attention, especially in the Asia-Pacific (APAC), and leaders across the region are taking note. The nexus between climate and health represents a profound intersection, one where the consequences of inaction are dire and far-reaching. There is a significant gap in meeting the climate adaptation financing needs for human health. It is estimated that developing countries globally will need USD 20 billion annually until 2030 on climate adaptation for human health, yet 93% remains unmet. In APAC, this gap exceeds USD 3 billion, or more than six times the existing level of funding. 


Despite growing awareness of the increasing severity of climate impacts on health, social investors and other actors need more visibility on the roles they can play. They have limited clarity on:  


  • How does climate change impact human health?
  • What solutions have emerged to address these impacts?
  • How can social investments bring solutions to deployment and scale?



What are the ways in which climate change impacts human health?


This Climate and Health Opportunity Primer aims to provide initial answers to these pressing questions and provide a call to action for social investors to support adaptation to the climate impacts of health in APAC.


As established by the IPCC, the impacts of climate on health are the combined product of hazards, a population’s vulnerability profile, and exposure. This primer broadly categorized these impacts within two groups: first, impacts on human health; and second, impacts on health system delivery capacity (see image below).


Pathways of climate change impact on health 



What solutions emerge to aid adaptation to these impacts?


Key solution areas to address human health include:  

  • Surveillance and management of infectious diseases  
  • Management of non-communicable diseases and trauma  
  • Food security solutions  
  • Water and sanitation services resilience


Key solution areas to strengthen health system delivery capacity include:  

  • Health system and supply chain resilience
  • Decentralised energy for health services


Additionally, an important cross-cutting solution include:

  • Climate-health intelligence systems


A number of barriers, however, hinder the deployment of these solutions at various degrees of intensity, such as insufficient awareness and conversation on the climate-health intersection, gaps in data and evidence, limited diversity of funding instruments, and dependence on under-resourced public health systems. 



What role do social investors need to play?


For social investors, there are opportunities to invest in laying the groundwork through evidence building, in direct support to solutions, and in creating a collaborative, vibrant ecosystem: 


Actions for social investors


Specifically, social investors can:  


  1. Make targeted investments in evidence generation and address the data availability barriers facing actors across the ecosystem. 

    For example, social investors can invest in basic research or in capturing, processing, and sharing data, such as in the Wellcome Trust’s Climate x Health program, which funds research globally to gather evidence of climate impacts on health and relevant solutions.

  2. Invest in organizations developing new models and scaling established solutions. 

    Social investors can also provide funding to help climate and health solution providers build capacity, tailor their models, and grow their impact. For example, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) venture fund has supported over 45 companies focused on climate impact in APAC and has co-invested with the private sector in more than 30 seed funding rounds.  

  3. Foster a collaborative ecosystem of climate and health stakeholders that aggregates knowledge, promotes intra- and inter-region coordination, and enables better coordination between innovators, innovators, and policymakers. 

    For example, The Alliance for Transformative Action on Climate and Health (ATACH), a global initiative of WHO, aims to build climate-resilient and sustainable health systems. It does so by harnessing the collective power of WHO Member States and other stakeholders to integrate the climate change and health nexus into national, regional, and global plans. 



“We deeply believe in the power of collaboration and knowledge sharing to drive meaningful change. The primer identifies opportunities for financial and non-financial support that can be deployed by diverse categories of funders, including philanthropies, impact investors, and public and corporate investors.” 

Dr. Peng Zhong, Social Innovation Director of Bayer Foundation





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