Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Climate Change and Urban Health in Developing Countries

Urban heat island profile
Urban heat island profile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Also discussed here: Addressing Urban Environmental Health and Maternal Mortality in Developing Countries(Maria Prebble, New Security Beat, Wilson Center, Apr. 24, 2013

Today we review a working paper from Norway that looks at the challenges facing urban centres in developing countries during after global climate change. While many of these cities have large slums which make the issue a matter of vulnerability and poverty, the link between climate change and health with specific impacts from heat and air pollution is the overriding challenge and what sort of governance is needed is the main question.  

Key Quotes:

Main findings from the review of climate change and health literature related to/in urban areas:
  • “is discussed as part of the broader and established research issue of environmental health;
  • there are potential co-benefits in treating climate change and health together;
  • equity issues are of concern to many authors”
“The health effects of climate change range from ‘cardiovascular mortality and respiratory illnesses due to heat waves, to altered transmission of infectious diseases and malnutrition from crop failures’”

“The health effects of climate change in urban areas have most notably been linked to the heat island effect, indoor and outdoor air pollution, coastal location, high population density and poor sanitation”

 “As ‘more than 70% of the urban population in sub-Saharan Africa live in slums’33, the focus on climate change and health in African cities is particularly concerned with vulnerable and poor populations.”

 “there is still a gap in research on how to govern the health effects of climate change in urban areas in developing countries.”

 "Policy recommendations and questions that need to be addressed:
  1. what structures/actors need to be involved;
  2. how they coordinate across actors representing different sectors;
  3. the multilevel dimension to this coordination and, subsequently,
  4. the urban governance of climate change adaptation that includes health;
  5. the equity aspect of this work."
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