Human, animal health key to climate action

global warming, rising temperatures, climate change

Combating the effects of climate change has focused on mobilising governments, corporates, resources and the civil society.

Photo credit: Courtesy | Shutterstock

The world faces precarious yet interesting challenges, weeks after leaders and experts gathered in Egypt to deliberate on solutions to global warming. At the core of the solutions is health. Scientists say climate change poses an existential threat to human well-being and planetary health. The window of liberating the planet from the catastrophe is rapidly narrowing.

The increasing burden of health challenges and climate change issues have been traced to the expanding population, environment degradation, pollution, excessive luxurious trade, cultural practices and poverty. These challenges and burdens are connected with the triad of the human-animal-environment relationship.

Combating the devastating effects of climate change has focused on mobilising governments, corporates, resources and the civil society. Even COP27 was about public and private leaders uniting to seek solutions around climate change.

Indeed, Sharm El-Sheikh built on the momentum from COP26 in Glasgow 2021 and provided global leaders and actors the opportunity for new collaborations to turn commitments under the Paris Agreement to action.

To do this, there is need for innovative, citizen centred and sustainable solutions that are not resource-intensive. Unique and innovative solutions like One Health Approach, implemented by Amref to address humans, animals and the environment health are poised to offer more collaborative and dynamic experiences in addressing climate change.

Strengthening climate adaptation and resilience, mitigating emissions, facilitating a just energy transition and increasing funding and collaboration for key solutions should be anchored on the understanding of the relationship between humans, animals and their shared environment.

Close to two thirds of the emerging and re-emerging diseases can be traced to animals. In a world characterised by increased population, contact with domestic and wild animals or infected environments and the plethora of vectors and foods that is less organic – containment measures need to move beyond addressing the single issue of climate change. Governments, private sector, civil society and citizens must mobilise resources and take a holistic approach to tackle these challenges by recognising that solutions to climate change and environmental degradation lie in addressing the relationship between humans, animals and the environment.

Principles underpinning Amref’s One Health approach include the recognition that there is a correlation between animal-human-environment. This approach also recognises the importance of involving experts, authorities and local communities in a transdisciplinary and participatory work. This fosters the integration.

Ms Kosgei is Project Manager, Amref Health Africa in Kenya. [email protected].

Mr Muchangi is Programme Director, Amref. [email protected]