The CIHLMU Symposium on Global Health Perspectives: Climate Change and Migration was held on Friday, March 12, 2021
The effects of climate change cannot be emphasized enough. Climate change is not only affecting global health issues but also has an impact worldwide on economies. Therefore, changes to our environment are likely to become increasingly important causal factors of migration globally in years ahead. One of the key challenges will be to improve understanding of how environmental migration relates to vulnerability of people, as every person on the planet is a potential stakeholder in the essentials of interactions between the climate, environment and the health of human beings.
This year’s topic was “Global Health Perspectives: Climate Change & Migration”, a complex, highly relevant and transdisciplinary topic which was addressed by four speakers from very diverse backgrounds throughout the course of the day. About 70 participants registered to this online event and the overall interaction and feedback was highly positive.
The aim with this symposium was to highlight knowledge to reduce vulnerabilities and enhance the resilience of communities and ecosystems affected by climate change. By creating awareness about the severity of consequences from climate change, we would like to address these issues especially related to global health and migration. This augments the scientific understanding of climate change and attendees will be equipped with relevant mitigating strategies to help populations adapt to these associated vulnerabilities.
The invited speakers were:
Dr. Peter van den Hazel (HEAL/INCHES) kicked-off the symposium by explaining the relationships between climate, migration and health, bringing our attention to children as a particular vulnerable group.
Dr. Chukwumerije Okereke (Director of the Center for Climate Change and Development, Nigeria) gave us an insight into the particular challenges faced by the African continent, emphasizing the measures needed to be taken at the Institutional and National levels. We discussed climate resilient health systems in developing countries with Dr. Meghnath Dhimal (Chief Research Officer of the Nepal Health Research Council) who shared ongoing projects in Nepal and collaborative projects with East Asian countries.
Dr. Shelby Yamamoto (Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta, Canada) addressed climate-related migration in Canada, and the current challenges and health risks especially faced by the Indigenous populations.
The panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Martin Herrmann (KLUG) unpacked issues around the climate change-migration-security nexus, the urgent need to define climate refugees and the current, devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in low-and middle-income countries.
We look forward to having more complex and important discussions around topics of Global Health importance.