Commonwealth Secretariat Discussion Paper

The Discussion Paper series raises awareness of topics that are of importance to Commonwealth work programmes. Discussion Papers explore an issue relating to research or programme activities and provoke debate on it. The intended readership is researchers and policy advisers.


Climate Change and Health

A Lens to Refocus on the Health Needs of the Poor

The health impacts of climate change are a relatively recent addition to the public health policy agenda.  This Discussion Paper sets out important factors that need to be considered now, given that this will be an important issue for public health and populations generally in the coming decades.  Adapting to the health impacts of climate change offers the opportunity of bringing improvements in the health of impoverished populations globally, if adaptation policies are designed with their needs in mind.  The author also argues that if we do not do this now, we risk developing a climate change and health agenda that, by redirecting resources and interest, could jeopardise efforts to improve the health of impoverished populations.


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