Agreement between the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Colombia and Health Care Without Harm to promote the decarbonization of the Colombian health system

Press release February 14, 2022

After signing a memorandum of understanding, they will work on a project for estimating the carbon footprint of health facilities. 

The Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Republic of Colombia and Health Care Without Harm announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding to carry out a project that will allow estimating the climate footprint of the Colombian national health system at the facility level.

The project will have three main axes: the identification of a representative sample of hospitals and health centers of the Colombian health system, the training of the teams of those establishments in the use of the Climate Impact Checkup tool developed by Health Care Without Harm, and technical support so that the establishments that make up the sample can determine the size and composition of their climate footprint. With the analysis of the data obtained from this exercise, an estimate will be made of greenhouse gas emissions from the Colombian health sector at the national level. Finally, based on these findings, a series of specific recommendations will be prepared, which will serve as input for the process of preparing the Comprehensive Sectoral Climate Change Management Plan (PIGCCS) for the Colombian health sector.

With this project, Colombia will become the first country in the region to carry out a comprehensive exercise to estimate the carbon footprint of its national health system, including both public and private establishments.

The announcement of the signing of the collaboration agreement takes place within the framework of the launch of the COP26 Health Program, in which more than 50 countries from different regions have committed to developing climate-resilient, sustainable and low carbon health systems. 

“Colombia was one of the ten Latin American and Caribbean countries that presented their commitment within the framework of the twenty-sixth United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26) and, with the signing of this memorandum of understanding, advances in the first steps towards implementation to promote the decarbonization of the Colombian health system,” explained Juan Carlos Bernal, Coordinator of the Cooperation and International Relations Group of the Colombian Ministry of Health and Social Protection.

“We are very pleased to be working with the Ministry of Health of Colombia on this important initiative.  We look forward to working together, learning together and identifying steps to support Colombia’s health systems to become sustainable, low carbon and climate resilient. By making this project successful we can help set the stage for other national and subnational governments to do the same”, said Josh Karliner, International Director of Program and Strategy of Health Care Without Harm, who signed the memorandum on behalf of the organization.

Both technical teams are already working together to design a schedule of activities and advance the implementation of the project, the results of which are expected in early 2023.


About Health Care Without Harm

Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) is an international nongovernmental organization (NGO) that works to transform health care worldwide so that it reduces its environmental footprint, becomes a community anchor for sustainability, and a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice.