U.N. Agencies Publish 'Atlas' Linking Climate, Health

“Two U.N. agencies on Monday presented a new tool to map health risks linked to climate change and extreme weather conditions, enabling authorities to give advance warnings and act to prevent ‘climate-sensitive’ diseases from spreading,” Agence France-Presse reports (10/30). “As the world’s climate continues to change, hazards to human health are increasing,” according to the “Atlas of health and climate,” published jointly by WHO and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a press release from the agencies states (10/29). “Climate variability and extreme conditions such as floods can trigger epidemics of diseases, such as diarrhea, malaria, dengue, and meningitis-diseases, which cause death and suffering for millions of people,” VOA News writes (Schlein, 10/29).

“Though the data or conclusions aren’t necessarily new, the way in which they are presented may sharpen governments’ ability to respond to the threats posed by rising temperatures and changing climate,” the Associated Press notes (10/29). “Using graphs, charts and bullet points, the Atlas can be used as a guide for decision makers on how to prevent such diseases, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan told reporters in Geneva, speaking alongside WMO chief Michel Jarraud,” AFP adds (10/30). “But the Atlas authors say they still have a long way to go to make such warnings global and reliable,” IRIN writes, adding, “‘We have good real-time weather data, but that is not the case with health data,’ said Geoff Love, WMO’s director of weather and disaster risk reduction” (10/30).