Human health impacts from climate variability and climate change in the hindu kush-himalaya region : report of an inter-regional workshop
AbstractDescription: The World Health Organization, the World Meteorological Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Development Programme organized an inter-regional workshop on Human Health Impacts from Climate Variability and Climate Change in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya Region held in Mukteshwar, India, from 3 to 7 October 2005, the objectives of the workshop were to: " Inform participants about the impacts of climate variability and long-term climate change in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya Region in particular; " Identify specific human health risks linked to climate variability and change in the Himalayan mountain regions; " Propose strategies for integrating health with relevant sectors, interdisciplinary research and projects oriented towards action, and intercountry cooperation; and " Achieve consensus on a draft framework for national action in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya mountain region. National health and environment authorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and China discussed the rapid and profound changes in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya Region over the coming decades. It is likely that vector-borne pathogens could take advantage of new habitats in altitudes that were formerly unsuitable, and that diarroheal diseases could become more prevalent with changes in freshwater quality and availability. Excessive rainfall is likely to increase the number of floods and landslides. A risk unique to mountain regions is glacier lake outburst floods or GLOF, which are projected to increase as the rate of glacier melting increases. GLOFs are associated with high morbidity and mortality. The long-term reduction in annual glacier snowmelt is expected to result in water insecurity in the region. The extent of the impacts will depend on the effectiveness of public health interventions. The participants agreed that the basic issues that need to be addressed include: " Identifying the current distribution of climate-sensitive health determinants and outcomes in the region, and calculating the burden of these health determinants and outcomes on the most vulnerable populations; " Identifying and evaluating the effectiveness of existing policies and raising awareness; " Reviewing the implications for human health of the potential impacts of climate variability and change on other sectors; " Estimating future health impacts under different climate change and socioeconomic scenarios; " Identifying additional adaptation measures needed to reduce the estimated future negative health effects; and " Identifying approaches to mitigate the emission of greenhouse gases by ensuring a stronger engagement of the heath sector in the national, regional and global climate change negotiations. The workshop participants noted that while adaptive measures and interventions to protect human health from the consequences of climate change require immediate attention, countries that have contributed the majority of greenhouse gas emissions should acknowledge their responsibility towards climate change and its consequent health impacts, reduce their emissions and support mountain regions in adapting to climate change to help ensure their long-term sustainability.
World Health Organization, Regional Office for South-East Asia. (2006). Human health impacts from climate variability and climate change in the hindu kush-himalaya region : report of an inter-regional workshop. WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/205297
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