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Climate Change & Health Programs

Identifying health as an indicator of the effects of climate change puts the complexity of environmental science and public policy within reach of every human being. We all need clean and sufficient water and air; nutritious food; safe and stable communities. Threats to these basic human needs target all people, but especially the most vulnerable populations. These threats are to real people, in real places.

A Multilevel Approach: Local Actions - Global Decisions and Partnerships

#1 - SeaTrust Institute's climate change and health programs are local: they happen in the ground in real communities

Capacity Building for Global Nurses on Climate Change, Policy Participation and Data Surveillance of New Developments in Climate Related Diseases

This project combines several partner organizations' technical abilities and resources related to climate change and health, communications and databases technologies, life cycle assessment for climate related diseases such as malaria and dengue as well as other climate-related health issues, expanded networks of experts and other resources to address building regional capacity to adapting to climate change. By tapping into this knowledge and disseminating it widely through training nurses and midwives - who constitute the largest single professional group in any health setting worldwide - SeaTrust Institute and Nurses Across the Borders are leading teams that are engaging in local projects that help health professionals tailor their own local adaptation strategies around their specific climate change and heatth issues, collect meaningful health and climate surveillance data through available technologies, and participate in policy discussions and decisions that affect the communties in which they live, work and serve.

#2 - SeaTrust Institute's climate change and health programs are global: they happen in the multinational policy community

The Coalition on Health and Environment: Climate Change Initiative – GIVING HEALTH ITS PLACE IN CLIMATE CHANGE POLICIES AND STATEMENTS

 SeaTrust Institute and Nurses Across the Borders are the joint focal points for the Coalition on Health and Environment: Climate Change Initiative – an emerging collaborative of organizations and individuals, nations and agencies that understand human health to be the standard by which all climate change actions, negotiations, treaties and plans are ultimately measured. Health is at the heart of all areas of climate change work.  The Coalition began with a small informal group meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009 during the UN Climate Change Meetings (COP15); it was recognized as a partner as part of the Friends of Public Health collaboration organized by WHO for those focusing on health in Cancun during the 2010 COP16. In one year, through a partnership between its Co-Chairs from the USA and Nigeria that exists within and beyond the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Coalition has become an example of a successful collaboration across the global North and South through the issue that binds us all – our health. 

Every area of climate change activity, from water to carbon, from REDD to sustainability, uses human health and well-being as a primary success indicator. Rather than being isolated as a segment of the climate change conversation, the Coalition is striving to build awareness that health not only crosses all sectors’ concerns but encompasses all sectors.  Good health is an asset to global economies and allows nations to co-create new solutions for climate adaptation and mitigation, which is why the popular adage has it that: health is wealth – the wealth of any nation is rooted in the health of the people – A healthy nation is a wealthy nation.

Health is a central focus in Agenda 21, MDG and other climate texts. An immediate goal of the Coalition is to see the role of health explicitly recognized and stated in the UNFCC texts at the Durban 2011 UNFCCC meetings. The work will continue after the conclusion of COP17.

Proposed Activities

Going forward from COP16, and in collaboration with the World Health Organization which acts to liaise with NGOs, global agencies and nations, this health and climate change Coalition engages traditional health partners with other climate change actors in an innovative approach to reaching agreements through research reviews and compilation; seeking current and planned studies; and stories from the field by those experiencing health effects from climate change. The phenomenal growth of interdisciplinary attention to climate, medical and social science leads us to seek a broad representation in the Coalition as well as input from those with academic, practitioner and research backgrounds, nations, businesses, individuals and communities witnessing changes at the nexus of climate change and health.

In addition to policy engagement, the health and climate Coalition engages in tangible activities that build awareness and engagement with health and climate science. A keystone 2011 activity designed to provide a context for the studies presented by the Coalition at COP17 is a project engaging nurses with pertinent climate change science that affects their local work, honoring nurses’ professional expertise and position of trust as both disseminators of adaptation knowledge and as appropriate and as well-placed collectors of local surveillance data on climate-related diseases. We begin these activities with the partnership between the focal points of this Coalition – SeaTrust Institute, USA and Nurses Across the Borders NIGERIA in their engagement and training of Nigerian nurses. This process is designed to be expanded in all global regions to bring health to the heart of climate change negotiation – through tangible action. -MORE -

Click on "More" to find out about the Coalition or to add your voice to the conversation and research that brings health to the heart of the climate change conversation.

Joint Focal Point Contacts:
Dr. Lynn Wilson – SeaTrust Institute  +1 360-961-3363   USA
Peters OMORAGBON Nurses Across the Borders  +234-805-265-8024  +234-805-265-8024     Nigeria, +44-1438729726      +44-1438729726     UK