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Climate change adaptation and mitigation: next steps for cross-sectoral action to protect global health

Abstract

Effectively addressing the health risks of climate change necessitates an active crosssectoral approach because health risks arise predominantly via sectors such as water, agriculture and energy. Much has been written on climate change and its impact on health, but little attention has focused on the realpolitik of how to progress the development and implementation of health-relevant strategies and policies to reduce this impact. The objective of this paper is to propose three solutions to address current deficiencies: i) strengthening the capacity and understanding of health officials in relation to climate change and health; ii) improving cross-sectoral partnerships with sectors relevant to climate change and health, and iii) identifying organisations influential in the development of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies and policies, with a view to better target advocacy efforts. Practical examples of each solution are provided. In conclusion, as a steward of public health, the health sector must take the initiative to encourage a cross-sectoral approach that includes capacity development, coupled with an understanding of influential organisations. If this is done effectively, health, social and economic development goals can be reached more efficiently.

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Correspondence to Kathryn J. Bowen.

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Bowen, K.J., Ebi, K. & Friel, S. Climate change adaptation and mitigation: next steps for cross-sectoral action to protect global health. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change 19, 1033–1040 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11027-013-9458-y

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Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Adaptation
  • Mitigation
  • Global health
  • Cross-sectoral collaboration
  • Solutions