Aimed at highlighting the connections between health and climate while promoting effective solutions, Foundation S's think-and-do tank, The Sanofi Collective, through the Collective Minds Climate Council, combines data collection with on-the-ground insights.
A collective motivated by both reflection and action
Foundation S - The Sanofi Collective is committed to spotlighting the urgency posed by alarming health impacts of climate change. As part of its efforts to create international momentum in philanthropy and beyond on this issue, it launched the Collective Minds Climate Council. The council's work underscores the urgent need for action and direct policymakers' attention to the impact of climate change on communities and public health in some of the world's most vulnerable countries.
"The WHO estimates that climate change causes 250,000 additional deaths annually.” Yet, the link between health and climate action remains inadequately supported. Since 2023, the Collective Minds Climate Council has acted as a consortium of advisors, accelerating global awareness of the impact of climate change on health, urging political change, and mobilizing global financial resources for climate adaptation solutions in countries already facing devastating health effects.
In preparation for the Paris Summit, Foundation S, the Africa-Europe Foundation (AEF), and One Sustainable Health (OSH) convened the Collective Minds Climate Council to raise awareness of the joint action needed to fight against the impacts of climate change on health, aiming to enhance the resilience of vulnerable communities.
The council comprises numerous experts and opinion leaders in health, climate, philanthropy, and international action from around the world, especially from regions most affected by the climate crisis. They were selected based on their commitment to public health, dedication to vulnerable populations, and their focus on sustainable solutions involving affected communities.
The Collective Minds Climate Council includes Elhadj As Sy (Kofi Annan Foundation), Dr. Awa Marie Coll Seck (Minister of State, Republic of Senegal; Galien Forum Africa), Dr. Alan Dangour (Wellcome), Nathalie Delapalme (Mo Ibrahim Foundation), Dr. Vanessa Kerry (Seed Global Health), Jack Leslie (Duke University), Anil Soni (WHO Foundation), Dr. Agnès Soucat (Health and Social Protection Division, French Development Agency), and Paul Walton (Africa-Europe Foundation). It also features Vanina Laurent-Ledru and Maryam Hassimi (Foundation S), Elke Konings and Eliza Love (Management Sciences for Health).
Recommendations Giving Voice to Local Populations and Their Solutions
The results of the first year of collective work were published in September 2023 in the report "Time to Adapt: Accelerating Climate Adaptation for Health Equity", presented alongside the United Nations General Assembly. The Collective Minds Climate Council highlights four key levers for promoting health resilience, all centered on a crucial criterion: giving a voice and means to local communities to adapt.
Lever #1: Place local communities at the center of decision-making and solution development because they have the best understanding of their specific weaknesses, available resources, and, most importantly, their most pressing needs. It is this vital information that will enable the development of appropriate, effective, and sustainable adaptation strategies.
Lever #2: Leverage evidence-based databases on effective local solutions, as these communities, being the first affected, have an in depth understanding of the consequences of climate change on health. They also possess data to demonstrate the effectiveness of solutions already experimented with.
Lever #3: Channel flexible funding directly to local communities since money is the lifeblood to replicate already proven solutions. This will optimize deployed resources, decentralize on-the-ground action for greater responsiveness, and promote equity because the impact of climate change is disproportionately felt in low- and middle-income countries.
Lever #4: Foster an environment conducive to achieving sustainable progress in local adaptation by disseminating on-the-ground expertise of local communities and amplifying the voices of these peoples. This aims to encourage significant political engagement from the international community in support of ambitious global strategies to protect vulnerable populations.
An Internationally Influential Committee
Publication of the Time to Adapt Report has enabled part of the global health community to better understand the health challenges caused by climate change in low- and middle-income countries. It has also highlighted the innovative solutions these communities have implemented over many years to combat this phenomenon and adapt to its direct and indirect consequences on public health.
The report continues to be disseminated by Foundation S and the Collective Minds Climate Council, including at COP28, which organized its first "Health Day" this year. This event reiterated the critical need for climate adaptation funding, emphasizing that local communities, armed with knowledge, can further mobilize, and strengthen their resilience if provided with additional means.