Anthropogenic climate changes and stratospheric ozone depletion affect human health in various ways. Current mainstream epidemiologic research methods do not appear well adapted to analyze these health impacts, which involve complex systems influenced by human interventions or simpler processes that will take place in the future. This paper discusses a different paradigm for studying the health impacts of global environmental changes and focuses on the development of integrated ecoepidemiologic models using three examples--the effect of climate change on vector-borne diseases, the effect of climate change on thermal-related mortality, and the effects of increasing ultraviolet levels because of ozone depletion on the rates of skin cancer.
World population is expected to grow from the present 6.8 billion people to about 9 billion by 2050. The growing need for nutritious and healthy food will increase the demand for fisheries products from marine sources, whose productivity is already highly stressed by excessive fishing pressure, growing organic pollution, toxic contamination, coastal degradation and climate change. Looking towards 2050, the question is how fisheries governance, and the national and international policy and legal frameworks within which it is nested, will ensure a sustainable harvest, maintain biodiversity and ecosystem functions, and adapt to climate change. This paper looks at global fisheries production, the state of resources, contribution to food security and governance. It describes the main changes affecting the sector, including geographical expansion, fishing capacity-building, natural variability, environmental degradation and climate change. It identifies drivers and future challenges, while suggesting how new science, policies and interventions could best address those challenges.
capture fisheries; food security; future; overfishing; environmental degradation; conservation
Animal and plant diseases pose a serious and continuing threat to food security, food safety, national economies, biodiversity and the rural environment. New challenges, including climate change, regulatory developments, changes in the geographical concentration and size of livestock holdings, and increasing trade make this an appropriate time to assess the state of knowledge about the impact that diseases have and the ways in which they are managed and controlled. In this paper, the case is explored for an interdisciplinary approach to studying the management of infectious animal and plant diseases. Reframing the key issues through incorporating both social and natural science research can provide a holistic understanding of disease and increase the policy relevance and impact of research. Finally, in setting out the papers in this Theme Issue, a picture of current and future animal and plant disease threats is presented.
animal disease; plant disease; interdisciplinarity; social science
This paper addresses a fundamental question in evidence based policy making—can scientists and policy makers work together? It first provides a scenario outlining the different mentalities and imperatives of scientists and policy makers, and then discusses various issues and solutions relating to whether and how scientists and policy makers can work together. Scientists and policy makers have different goals, attitudes toward information, languages, perception of time, and career paths. Important issues affecting their working together include lack of mutual trust and respect, different views on the production and use of evidence, different accountabilities, and whether there should be a link between science and policy. The suggested solutions include providing new incentives to encourage scientists and policy makers to work together, using knowledge brokers (translational scientists), making organisational changes, defining research in a broader sense, re-defining the starting point for knowledge transfer, expanding the accountability horizon, and finally, acknowledging the complexity of policy making. It is hoped that further discussion and debate on the partnership idea, the need for incentives, recognising the incompatibility problems, the role of civil society, and other related themes will lead to new opportunities for further advancing evidence based policy and practice.
Climate change, caused by global warming, is increasingly recognized as a major threat to mankind's survival. Climate change concurrently has both direct and modifying influences on environmental, social, and public health systems undermining human health as a whole. Environmental health policy-makers need to make use of political and technological alternatives to address these ramifying effects. The objective of this paper is to review public health policy in Korea, as well as internationally, particularly as it relates to climate change health adaptation and mitigation programs (such as C-CHAMP of Korea), in order to assess and elicit directions for a robust environmental health policy that is adaptive to the health impacts of climate change. In Korea, comprehensive measures to prevent or mitigate overall health effects are limited, and the diffusion of responsibility among various government departments makes consistency in policy execution very difficult. This paper proposes integration, synergy, and utilization as the three core principles of policy direction for the assessment and adaptation to the health impacts of climate change. For specific action plans, we suggest policy making based on scientifically integrated health impact assessments and the prioritization of environmental factors in climate change; the development of practical and technological tools that support policy decisions by making their political implementation more efficient; and customized policy development that deals with the vulnerability of local communities.
Climate change; Health impacts; Policy directions
This paper draws together contributions to a scientific table discussion on obesity at the European Science Open Forum 2008 which took place in Barcelona, Spain. Socioeconomic dimensions of global obesity, including those factors promoting it, those surrounding the social perceptions of obesity and those related to integral public health solutions, are discussed. It argues that although scientific accounts of obesity point to large-scale changes in dietary and physical environments, media representations of obesity, which context public policy, pre-eminently follow individualistic models of explanation. While the debate at the forum brought together a diversity of views, all the contributors agreed that this was a global issue requiring an equally global response. Furthermore, an integrated ecological model of obesity proposes that to be effective, policy will need to address not only human health but also planetary health, and that therefore, public health and environmental policies coincide.
Human activities are placing enormous pressures on the biosphere. The introduction of new chemicals and the increasing ambient levels of existing chemicals have resulted in atmospheric degradation. This paper reviews some of the adverse effects of stratospheric ozone depletion and global warming. Because the atmospheric effects of ozone depletion are fairly well characterized, quantitative risk estimates have been developed. However, because the atmospheric effects of global warming are less understood, public health problems that could be intensified by climate change are assessed qualitatively. The interactive effects of these two phenomena are also discussed.
Year 2011 noted the first definable ozone “hole” in the Arctic region, serving as an indicator to the continued threat of dangerous ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure caused by the deterioration of stratospheric ozone in the northern hemisphere. Despite mandates of the Montreal Protocol to phase out the production of ozone depleting chemicals (ODCs), the relative stability of ODCs validates popular notions of persistent stratospheric ozone for several decades. Moreover, increased UVR exposure through stratospheric ozone depletion is occurring within a larger context of physiological stress and climate change across the biosphere. In this review, we provide commentaries on stratospheric ozone depletion with relative comparisons between the well-known Antarctic ozone hole and the newly defined ozone hole in the Arctic. Compared to the Antarctic region, increased UVR exposure in the Northern Hemisphere poses a threat to denser human populations across North America, Europe and Asia. In this context, we discuss emerging targets of UVR exposure that can potentially offset normal biological rhythms in terms of taxonomically conserved photoperiod dependent seasonal signaling and entrainment of circadian clocks. Consequences of seasonal shifts during critical life history stages can alter the fitness and condition, while circadian disruption is increasingly becoming associated as a causal link to increased carcinogenesis. We further review the significance of genomic alterations via UVR induced modulations of phase I and phase II transcription factors, the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and the Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2), with emphasis on mechanism that can lead to metabolic shifts and cancer. While concern for adverse health consequences due to increased UVR exposure are longstanding, recent advances in biochemical research suggest that AhR and Nrf2 transcriptional regulators are likely targets for UVR mediated dysregulations of rhymicity and homeostasis among animals, including humans.
biological rhythmicity; seasonal cycling; circadian rhythms; AhR& Nrf2 transcription factors; carcinogenicity; climate change
Population health is a primary goal of sustainable development. United Nations international conferences like the Beijing Platform for Action have highlighted the key role of women in ensuring sustainable development. In the context of climate change, women are affected the most while they display knowledge and skills to orient themselves toward climate adaptation activities within their societies.
To investigate how the gender perspective is addressed as an issue in research and policy-making concerning climate change and global health.
A broad literature search was undertaken using the databases Pubmed and Web of Science to explore the terms ‘climate change,’ ‘health,’ ‘gender,’ and ‘policy.’ Climate change and health-related policy documents of the World Health Organization (WHO) and National Communications and National Adaptation Programs of Action reports submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of selected countries were studied. Assessment guidelines to review these reports were developed from this study's viewpoint.
The database search results showed almost no articles when the four terms were searched together. The WHO documents lacked a gender perspective in their approach and future recommendations on climate policies. The reviewed UN reports were also neutral to gender perspective except one of the studied documents.
Despite recognizing the differential effects of climate change on health of women and men as a consequence of complex social contexts and adaptive capacities, the study finds gender to be an underrepresented or non-existing variable both in research and studied policy documents in the field of climate change and health.
climate change; health; gender; policy; global health
Global health financing has increased dramatically in recent years, indicative of a rise in health as a foreign policy issue. Several governments have issued specific foreign policy statements on global health and a new term, global health diplomacy, has been coined to describe the processes by which state and non-state actors engage to position health issues more prominently in foreign policy decision-making. Their ability to do so is important to advancing international cooperation in health. In this paper we review the arguments for health in foreign policy that inform global health diplomacy. These are organized into six policy frames: security, development, global public goods, trade, human rights and ethical/moral reasoning. Each of these frames has implications for how global health as a foreign policy issue is conceptualized. Differing arguments within and between these policy frames, while overlapping, can also be contradictory. This raises an important question about which arguments prevail in actual state decision-making. This question is addressed through an analysis of policy or policy-related documents and academic literature pertinent to each policy framing with some assessment of policy practice. The reference point for this analysis is the explicit goal of improving global health equity. This goal has increasing national traction within national public health discourse and decision-making and, through the Millennium Development Goals and other multilateral reports and declarations, is entering global health policy discussion. Initial findings support conventional international relations theory that most states, even when committed to health as a foreign policy goal, still make decisions primarily on the basis of the 'high politics' of national security and economic material interests. Development, human rights and ethical/moral arguments for global health assistance, the traditional 'low politics' of foreign policy, are present in discourse but do not appear to dominate practice. While political momentum for health as a foreign policy goal persists, the framing of this goal remains a contested issue. The analysis offered in this article may prove helpful to those engaged in global health diplomacy or in efforts to have global governance across a range of sectoral interests pay more attention to health equity impacts.
At the international level, India is emerging as a key actor in climate negotiations, while at the national and sub-national levels, the climate policy landscape is becoming more active and more ambitious. It is essential to unravel this complex landscape if we are to understand why policy looks the way it does, and the extent to which India might contribute to a future international framework for tackling climate change as well as how international parties might cooperate with and support India’s domestic efforts. Drawing on both primary and secondary data, this paper analyzes the material and ideational drivers that are most strongly influencing policy choices at different levels, from international negotiations down to individual states. We argue that at each level of decision making in India, climate policy is embedded in wider policy concerns. In the international realm, it is being woven into broader foreign policy strategy, while domestically, it is being shaped to serve national and sub-national development interests. While our analysis highlights some common drivers at all levels, it also finds that their influences over policy are not uniform across the different arenas, and in some cases, they work in different ways at different levels of policy. We also indicate what this may mean for the likely acceptability within India of various climate policies being pushed at the international level.
India; Climate change; Climate policy
Mistra’s Climate Policy Research Program, Clipore, is one of the largest research programs directed to support international climate policy development, involving research groups in Sweden, Norway, United States and India. It has been running from 2004 to 2011 with a budget of more than 100 MSEK (15 M USD). The paper briefly describes the program and its outcomes in relation to climate policy development. Discussion focuses on how the program has been able to be in the front of and include the development of emissions trading systems in Europe and the United States and how the program has been able to follow and produce inputs to the agenda of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The paper also discusses how the program has managed to present its outcomes and maintain an active dialogue with the various stakeholders. The paper emphasises options and obstacles in the communication between science and policy.
Climate policy; Science-policy interactions; Climate policy research
The action required to stem the environmental and social implications of climate change depends crucially on how humankind shapes technology, economy, lifestyle and policy. With transport CO2 emissions accounting for about a quarter of the total, we examine the contribution of CO2 output by scientific travel. Thankfully for the reputation of the scientific community, CO2 emissions associated with the trips required to present a paper at a scientific conference account for just 0.003% of the yearly total. However, with CO2 emissions for a single conference trip amounting to 7% of an average individual’s total CO2 emissions, scientists should lead by example by demonstrating leadership in addressing the issue.
How can we strengthen the science–policy interface for plastics, the environment and human health? In a complex policy area with multiple stakeholders, it is important to clarify the nature of the particular plastics-related issue before trying to understand how to reconcile the supply and demand for evidence in policy. This article proposes a simple problem typology to assess the fundamental characteristics of a policy issue and thus identify appropriate processes for science–policy interactions. This is illustrated with two case studies from one UK Government Department, showing how policy and science meet over the environmental problems of plastics waste in the marine environment and on land. A problem-structuring methodology helps us understand why some policy issues can be addressed through relatively linear flows of science from experts to policymakers but why others demand a more reflexive approach to brokering the knowledge between science and policy. Suggestions are given at the end of the article for practical actions that can be taken on both sides.
science–policy interface; knowledge brokering; problem structuring; plastics policy
With a focus on the Danum Valley area of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, this special issue has as its theme the future of tropical rainforests in a changing landscape and climate. The global environmental context to the issue is briefly given before the contents and rationale of the issue are summarized. Most of the papers are based on research carried out as part of the Royal Society South East Asia Rainforest Research Programme. The issue is divided into five sections: (i) the historical land-use and land management context; (ii) implications of land-use change for atmospheric chemistry and climate change; (iii) impacts of logging, forest fragmentation (particularly within an oil palm plantation landscape) and forest restoration on ecosystems and their functioning; (iv) the response and resilience of rainforest systems to climatic and land-use change; and (v) the scientific messages and policy implications arising from the research findings presented in the issue.
rainforest; climate change; land-use change; land management; landscape
The context and challenges relating to the remaining tropical rainforest are briefly reviewed and the roles which science can play in addressing questions are outlined. Key messages which articles in the special issue, mainly based on projects of the Royal Society South East Asia Rainforest Research Programme (SEARRP), have raised of relevance to policies on land use, land management and REDD+ are then considered. Results from the atmospheric science and hydrology papers, and some of the ecological ones, demonstrate the very high ecosystem service values of rainforest (compared with oil palm) in maintaining high biodiversity, good local air quality, reducing greenhouse emissions, and reducing landslide, flooding and sedimentation consequences of climate change—and hence provide science to underpin the protection of remaining forest, even if degraded and fragmented. Another group of articles test ways of restoring forest quality (in terms of biodiversity and carbon value) or maintaining as high biodiversity and ecological functioning levels as possible via intelligent design of forest zones and fragments within oil palm landscapes. Finally, factors that have helped to enhance the policy relevance of SEARRP projects and dissemination of their results to decision-makers are outlined.
applying science; land use; land management; rainforest; Sabah
In 1992, with the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro and the subsequent Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the world changed for the science of taxonomy. Many taxonomists appear not to have noticed this change, but it has significantly altered the political climate in which taxonomic research is undertaken. By the late 1990s it was clear that effective implementation of the CBD needed the participation of and funding for the taxonomic community. In this paper, I chart the rise of the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI), review some of its goals and explore how it interacts with the CBD. The interactions of the GTI with the Global Environment Facility, a potential funding body, are explored, as are the possible synergies between the GTI and the many other global initiatives linking to taxonomy. Finally, I explore some of the challenges ahead as taxonomy begins to take a front seat in the implementation of environmental policy on the world stage.
The FP6 EU HENVINET project aimed at synthesizing the scientific information available on a number of topics of high relevance to policy makers in environment and health. The goal of the current paper is to reflect on the methodology that was used in the project, in view of exploring the usefulness of this and similar methodologies to the policy process. The topics investigated included health impacts of the brominated flame retardants decabrominated diphenylether (decaBDE) and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), phthalates highlighting di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), the pesticide chlorpyrifos (CPF), nanoparticles, the impacts of climate change on asthma and other respiratory disorders, and the influence of environment health stressors on cancer induction.
Initially the focus was on identifying knowledge gaps in the state of the art in scientific knowledge. Literature reviews covered all elements that compose the causal chain of the different environmental health issues from emissions to exposures, to effects and to health impacts. Through expert elicitation, knowledge gaps were highlighted by assessing expert confidence using calibrated confidence scales. During this work a complementary focus to that on knowledge gaps was developed through interdisciplinary reflections. By extending the scope of the endeavour from only a scientific perspective, to also include the more problem solving oriented policy perspective, the question of which kind of policy action experts consider justifiable was addressed. This was addressed by means of a questionnaire. In an expert workshop the results of both questionnaires were discussed as a basis for policy briefs.
The expert elicitation, the application of the calibrated confidence levels and the problem solving approach were all experienced as being quite challenging for the experts involved, as these approaches did not easily relate to mainstream environment and health scientific practices. Even so, most experts were quite positive about it. In particular, the opportunity to widen one’s own horizon and to interactively exchange knowledge and debate with a diversity of experts seemed to be well appreciated in this approach. Different parts of the approach also helped in focussing on specific relevant aspects of scientific knowledge, and as such can be considered of reflective value.
The approach developed by HENVINET was part of a practice of learning by doing and of interdisciplinary cooperation and negotiation. Ambitions were challenged by unforeseen complexities and difference of opinion and as no Holy Grail approach was at hand to copy or follow, it was quite an interesting but also complicated endeavour. Perfection, if this could be defined, seemed out of reach all the time. Nevertheless, many involved were quite positive about it. It seems that many felt that it fitted some important needs in current science when addressing the needs of policy making on such important issues, without anyone really having a clue on how to actually do this. Challenging questions remain on the quality of such approach and its product. Practice tells us that there probably is no best method and that the best we can do is dependent on contextual negotiation and learning from experiences that we think are relevant.
Climate change is one of today's most pressing global issues. Policies to guide mitigation and adaptation are needed to avoid the devastating impacts of climate change. The health sector is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in developed countries, and its climate impact in low-income countries is growing steadily. This paper reviews and discusses the literature regarding health sector mitigation potential, known and hypothetical co-benefits, and the potential of health information technology, such as eHealth, in climate change mitigation and adaptation. The promising role of eHealth as an adaptation strategy to reduce societal vulnerability to climate change, and the link's between mitigation and adaptation, are also discussed. The topic of environmental eHealth has gained little attention to date, despite its potential to contribute to more sustainable and green health care. A growing number of local and global initiatives on ‘green information and communication technology (ICT)’ are now mentioning eHealth as a promising technology with the potential to reduce emission rates from ICT use. However, the embracing of eHealth is slow because of limitations in technological infrastructure, capacity and political will. Further research on potential emissions reductions and co-benefits with green ICT, in terms of health outcomes and economic effectiveness, would be valuable to guide development and implementation of eHealth in health sector mitigation and adaptation policies.
climate change; adaptation; mitigation; global warming; eHealth; telemedicine; information and communication technology; greenhouse gas emission; policy
The complex relationship between globalization and health calls for research from many disciplinary and methodological perspectives. This editorial gives an overview of the content trajectory of the interdisciplinary journal ‘Globalization and Health’ over the first six years of production, 2005 to 2010. The findings show that bio-medical and population health perspectives have been dominant but that social science perspectives have become more evident in recent years. The types of paper published have also changed, with a growing proportion of empirical studies. A special issue on ‘Health systems, health economies and globalization: social science perspectives’ is introduced, a collection of contributions written from the vantage points of economics, political science, psychology, sociology, business studies, social policy and research policy. The papers concern a range of issues pertaining to the globalization of healthcare markets and governance and regulation issues. They highlight the important contribution that can be made by the social sciences to this field, and also the practical and methodological challenges implicit in the study of globalization and health.
Are pathogens in outdoor air a health issue at present or will they become a problem in the future? A working group called AirPath - Outdoor Environments and Human Pathogens in Air was set up in 2007 at University College London, UK with the aim of opening new discussion and creating a research network to investigate the science and impacts of outdoor pathogens. Our objective in this paper is to review and discuss the following areas: What is the source of human pathogens in outdoor air? What current, developing and future techniques do we need? Can we identify at-risk groups in relation to their activities and environments? How do we prepare for the anticipated challenges of environmental change and new and emerging diseases? And how can we control for and prevent pathogens in outdoor environments? We think that this work can benefit the wider research community and policy makers by providing a concise overview of various research aspects and considerations which may be important to their work.
Herein, we proposed planning of wide transdisciplinary actions, which bring a solution for economic activity such as transportation, strongly related to pollution output with possible repercussions on climate change and public health. To solve logistics problem by introduction of common intermodal policy, and creation of more friendly transport solution, it is possible to obtain sustainable development, climate change prevention, government policy, and regulation which are all related to human health and creation of health-supportive environment. This approach permits environmental and biological monitoring same as economic results measurement by key performance indicators. This approach implementing emerging scientific knowledge in environmental health science such as genetic epidemiology aimed at understanding how genomic variation impacts phenotypic expression and how genes interact with the environment at the population level with subsequent translation into practical information for clinicians as well as for public health policy creation.
In spite of the application of toxicogenomic (TGx) data to the field of toxicology for the past 10 years, the broad implementation and full impact of TGx for chemical and drug evaluation to improve decision making within organizations and by policy makers has not been achieved.
The goal of the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) Committee on the Application of Genomics to Mechanism-based Risk Assessment was to construct and summarize a multisector survey, addressing key issues and perspectives on the current and future practical uses and challenges of implementing TGx data to facilitate discussions for decision making within organizations and by policy makers.
An online survey to probe the current status and future challenges facing the field of TGx for drug and chemical evaluation in experimental and nonclinical models was taken by scientists and scientific decision/policy makers actively engaged in the field of TGx within industrial, academic, and regulatory sectors of the United States, Europe, and Japan. For this survey, TGx refers specifically to the analysis of gene expression responses to evaluate xenobiotic exposure in experimental and preclinical models.
The survey results are summarized from questions covering broad areas including technology used, organizational capacity and resource allocation, experimental approaches, data storage and exchange, perceptions of benefits and hurdles, and future expectations.
The survey findings provide valuable information on the current state of the science of TGx applications and identify key areas in which TGx will have an impact as well as the key hurdles in applying TGx data to address issues. The findings serve as a public resource to facilitate discussions on the focus of future TGx efforts to ensure that a maximal benefit can be obtained from toxicogenomic studies.
applications; HESI survey; impact and hurdles; toxicogenomics
The diseases suffered by British livestock, and the ways in which they were perceived and managed by farmers, vets and the state, changed considerably over the course of the twentieth century. This paper documents and analyses these changes in relation to the development of public policy. It reveals that scientific knowledge and disease demographics cannot by themselves explain the shifting boundaries of state responsibility for animal health, the diseases targeted and the preferred modes of intervention. Policies were shaped also by concerns over food security and the public's health, the state of the national and livestock economy, the interests and expertise of the veterinary profession, and prevailing agricultural policy. This paper demonstrates how, by precipitating changes to farming and trading practices, public policy could sometimes actually undermine farm animal health. Animal disease can therefore be viewed both as a stimulus to, and a consequence of, twentieth century public policy.
veterinary; animal health; disease; agriculture; policy; state
Health has long been intertwined with the foreign policies of states. In recent years, however, global health issues have risen to the highest levels of international politics and have become accepted as legitimate issues in foreign policy. This elevated political priority is in many ways a welcome development for proponents of global health, and it has resulted in increased funding for and attention to select global health issues. However, there has been less examination of the tensions that characterize the relationship between global health and foreign policy and of the potential effects of linking global health efforts with the foreign-policy interests of states. In this paper, the authors review the relationship between global health and foreign policy by examining the roles of health across 4 major components of foreign policy: aid, trade, diplomacy, and national security. For each of these aspects of foreign policy, the authors review current and historical issues and discuss how foreign-policy interests have aided or impeded global health efforts. The increasing relevance of global health to foreign policy holds both opportunities and dangers for global efforts to improve health.
commerce; disease outbreaks; economics; health policy; international cooperation; public health; security measures; world health