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Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Session
TU 3.2: Health and Climate Change in Developing Countries
Time: Tuesday, 21/Feb/2012: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Session Chair: Charlotte BRAUN-FAHRLÄNDER
Location: Schwarzhorn

[special session]


Session Abstract

Health and Climate Change in Developing Countries: Major facts and what could be the role and the responsibilities for developed countries


The health conditions in developing countries are worsened by a lot of inadequate figures in several domains ranging from health care coverage, heath systems, to water and sanitation systems, ecological and social contexts, transmissible diseases, chronic diseases, animal health … Climate change and climate variability, and the natural extreme events (like floods, droughts), will exacerbate many of these health issues in developing countries. It is estimated that, by 2050, 6 billion people will be at risk of one or several of the ‘big 7’ climate-related diseases, namely malaria, dengue and other haemorrhagic fever viruses, schistosomiasis, human African trypanosomiasis, Chagas’ disease, leishmaniasis and onchocerciasis. The life expectancy in developing countries is 40 years in average, while it is 82 years in Japan and 80 in Switzerland. This huge gap between developed countries and low-income countries will be exacerbated in many other health indicators by global change and climate change. These trends will have impacts both in developing and developed countries.

A joint project of KFPE and ProClim “Climate and global change in developing countries: why should we be concerned?” has been launched in Switzerland to analyze the consequences that global change and climate change in developing countries could have on Switzerland and what could be its role and responsibility.

Following a workshop held in Bern on 17th November 2011 under the facilitation by Swiss TPH, a group of experts have shared views on the mentioned project related questions and came out with some ideas and recommendations that will be presented at the conference and will be discussed. The panel will be composed by 4 to 6 members of the experts’ group.



Co-Chair: Dr. Jon-Andri Lys - Secretary General - Swiss Commission for Scientific Partnership with Developing Countries KFPE - SCNAT


Presentations

Health and Climate Change in Developing Countries: Major facts and what could be the role and the responsibilities for developed countries

Guéladio CISSÉ

Swiss Tropical and Public Health Instittute (Swiss TPH), Switzerland

The health conditions in developing countries are worsened by a lot of inadequate figures in several domains ranging from health care coverage, heath systems, to water and sanitation systems, ecological and social contexts, transmissible diseases, chronic diseases, animal health … Climate change and climate variability, and the natural extreme events (like floods, droughts), will exacerbate many of these health issues in developing countries. It is estimated that, by 2050, 6 billion people will be at risk of one or several of the ‘big 7’ climate-related diseases, namely malaria, dengue and other haemorrhagic fever viruses, schistosomiasis, human African trypanosomiasis, Chagas’ disease, leishmaniasis and onchocerciasis. The life expectancy in developing countries is 40 years in average, while it is 82 years in Japan and 80 in Switzerland. This huge gap between developed countries and low-income countries will be exacerbated in many other health indicators by global change and climate change. These trends will have impacts both in developing and developed countries.

The panel will bring contributions of various experts from developed and developing countries. They will analyze the consequences that health impacts of global change and climate change in developing countries could have on developed countries and what could be the roles and responsibilities.


Global Change in Developing Countries: Why should we be concerned ?

Jon-Andri LYS

Swiss Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries, KFPE, Switzerland

The overall goal of this project by the KFPE (www.kfpe.ch) and ProClim- (www.proclim.ch) – two organisations of the Swiss Academies of Sciences, SCNAT – is to analyse and illustrate the consequences that climate and global change in developing countries has on Switzerland. In addition the role and responsibility of Switzerland will be discussed.

For this purpose, some relevant topics will be analysed and experts coming from different fields (research, federal administration, NGOs private sector etc.) will draw recommendations elaborated in Workshops. The output will result in factsheets, which will be widely distributed to different communities (policy, research, development cooperation, federal administration, private sector etc.) to raise awareness to different important aspects of climate and global change in the «South». Besides the recommendations, potential solutions will be drawn and the role of research and research cooperation will also be included. The first two topics analysed in this project were «migration» and «health». Some main results and conclusions concerning «health and climate/global change» will be presented in this session.


Climate Change, Development, and Health: The Role of Adaptive Governance

Andreas RECHKEMMER

Global Risk Forum GRF Davos, Switzerland

The health impacts of climate change are distributed differentially and unequally, contributing further to the vulnerability that poorer people especially in developing countries already face. This situation raises questions of means and opportunities to strengthen the resilience and adaptive capacity of affected populations in developing countries, the poor and marginal in particular. Moreover, the erosion of health resilience of affected populations in the Global South becomes an issue of developed countries in the Northern hemisphere, too. The “globalization of ecosystem services”, migration and social conflict create direct feedback loops that pose governance challenges for developed countries alike.

The proposed contribution explores in how far the techniques and strategies of adaptive governance help reduce risks and vulnerabilities with regard to the climate change – health – development nexus, both for developing country populations and those in the developed world, in particular by applying multilevel governance, cross-scale interactions and processes of social learning.


Climate Change and Health in Developing Countries: overcoming challenges and barriers

Diarmid CAMPBELL-LENDRUM

World Health Organisation WHO, Switzerland

Climate change has been identified by the WHO, the World Health Assembly, and major health professional associations and journals, as one of the greatest health challenges of the 21st Century. The challenges are greatest for the poorest populations, but rich populations are also vulnerable both to direct impacts and spill over effects from other parts of the world. At the same time, health is also a central justification for global action on climate change, and among the major concerns of populations around the world. There is now strong evidence that actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could bring large health gains, for example through reduced air pollution, also avoiding economic costs. Action to protect health from climate change is therefore justified on health, equity, security, environmental, political and economic grounds.

For the moment, however, there has been relatively little investment in health protection from climate change, or attention to health as a criterion for greenhouse gas mitigation, and green growth. This is likely to be due to a combination of (i) climate change and health being a relatively new field; (ii) initial framing of climate change as an environmental rather than human development issue; (iii) tradition of health and other sectors to work in a vertical fashion on specific issues; (iv) difficulties in demonstrating benefits of investment in addressing uncertain, diffuse and long-term threats, however serious they may be. Overcoming these barriers will not happen overnight, but has to happen.


Potential impact of climate change on schistosomiasis

Jürg UTZINGER

Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Switzerland

From a global public health perspective, schistosomiasis is the most important water-based disease. As a disease of poverty, schistosomiasis is deeply entrenched in social-ecological contexts, since transmission is governed by human behaviour (e.g. frequent contacts of unprotected surface water) and ecological features (e.g. living in close proximity to standing freshwater bodies). Considerable progress has been made in the control of schistosomiasis in several countries, yet the disease has spread to previously non-endemic areas as a result of demographic, ecological and social transformations. Climate change is though to have an impact on schistosomiasis, particularly in areas that are at the current fringe of transmission. Major water resources development and management projects (e.g. large dams and irrigation systems) are likely to exacerbate the effect of climate change on schistosomiasis transmission. With two case studies, one from China and the other from Mauritania, we illustrate the complex interplay of schistosomiasis transmission and climate change. We emphasise the need for a combination of biology-based and statistical models, coupled with time series climate data to enhance model predictions.


From Limits to Growth to the Growth of Limits: responsibilities of highly and less developed countries as constraints on growth intensifys

Bron Raymond TAYLOR

University of Florida (USA) & Rachel Carson Center (Munich), United States of America

The 1972 Limits to Growth report predicted that, if trends identifiable then were to continue, the result would be an expanding and intensifying collapse of environmental and social systems in the 21st century. The limits are thus not only related to natural resources but to ecological understandings and political will. Thinking about the responsibilities of nations, whether rich or poor, to the unfolding tragedy, requires critical thinking about (1) resource and cultural/political constraints; (2) the responsibilities of both affluent and poor countries; (3) how to hybridize the insights and overcome the shortsightedness and misperceptions found in diverse cultures (whether ‘Western’ or in the ‘global south’, and (4) creating responses across many scales and actors that are feasible given natural resource, and cultural/political realities. I illustrate the problems and possibilities through a quick review of the Limits to Growth modeling, and subsequent research demonstrating its prescience. I then briefly note what nations have committed themselves to (and not) with regard to sustainable development, support for environmental refugees, and so on. These anemic responses I then contrast that with what can be achieved at low cost when developing countries support grassroots initiatives and progressive government policies in less developed countries.


Health and Climate Change in Developing Countries. Case Study: Cholera protection for women micro-entrepreneurs in Haiti

Urs WIDMER

Swiss Reinsurance Company, Switzerland

After cholera appeared in Haiti after heavy rains in the fall of 2010, Fonkoze, the country’s largest microfinance organization, Mercy Corps and Swiss Re – all partners in MiCRO (the Microinsurance Catastrophe Risk Organization) – developed a new cholera insurance scheme which ensures “real-time” payout once a pre-defined set of criteria are met, including cholera-related hospital admissions and observable weather factors linked to cholera outbreaks. Parametric policies, which use a specially developed index to mirror actual situations, are efficient to provide funds even while policy holders still wait for assessments. The index developed for MiCRO can potentially be applied to other infectious diseases in other areas.


One Health Security - Adaptation and response

Patricia Ann MOSER

Asian Development Bank, Philippines, Republic of the

Abstract not available



 
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