New Climate Centre country briefs on climate, health, livelihoods
By the Climate Centre
The Climate Centre last week finalized publication of eight country-briefs assessing the impacts of a changing climate on health and livelihoods in (alphabetically) Afghanistan, Fiji, the Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Timor-Leste, and on health in a further three: Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi.
They together comprise the first phase of an initiative that aims to reduce health risks and vulnerabilities induced or exacerbated by climate change, and dovetail with the IFRC’s Strategy 2030 and several other IFRC frameworks.
The briefs investigated the “direct and indirect climate…links and associations with health outcomes” such as general mortality, infectious and non-communicable disease, nutrition and mental health, an introduction to the 11 says.
The attribution of specific health and livelihood outcomes to climate-related risks is difficult and largely unexplored, it adds.
The research methodology was developed by the Climate Centre and shared with National Societies for their input; a reference framework was agreed that “drew heavily on key IPCC and WHO documents to establish the known linkages between climate change and health”.
Primary interviews were conducted with specialists from the Red Cross Red Crescent, governments, UN agencies, NGOs, universities and met services.
Dr Meghan Bailey, Manager, Social Protection and Health at the Climate Centre and research lead, said: “The short- and long-term effects of climate change on the environmental and social factors behind health are becoming increasingly clear.
“As the climate changes we are seeing more extremes in the frequency, intensity and reach of disasters and greater variability in our climate.
“While extreme-weather events clearly lead to increased mortality and jeopardize health facilities and essential services, climate change also harms human health indirectly, through changes to ecosystems that alter patterns of infectious disease and affect supplies of food and water and the livelihoods of vulnerable people.”
As part of the research, some National Societies were asked to select a target city other than the capital to explore how climate change will affect the health and livelihoods of its inhabitants.
Two-hour Virtually Amazing sessions were also held, enabling the Climate Centre team to present finding to National Societies (including Partner National Societies) and IFRC technical advisers.
The Maldives Red Crescent is one of 11 National Societies that took part in an IFRC-Climate Centre research programme on climate, health and livelihoods in which one overarching research question covered climate change and its interaction with migration and displacement. In the picture, Maldivian Red Crescent teams last month sharing health information in languages that migrants understand and promoting access to services, including Covid vaccination. As a result of their work, more than 5,000 undocumented workers – some with their families – have come forward to be vaccinated. (Photo: MRC via IFRC)