Description: Walter Baethgen discusses IRI's role as a boundary institution working with development and humanitarian organizations to reduce the impacts of climate risks and disasters in developing countries.
Climate has always presented a challenge to farmers, herders, fishermen and others whose livelihoods are closely linked to their environment, particularly those in poor areas of the world. A type of insurance, called index insurance, now offers significant opportunities as a climate-risk management tool in developing countries, if certain challenges are overcome, according to IRI's latest Climate and Society publication.
Now that the world's attention is increasingly focused on climate-change adaptation, it is essential for the health community to better understand the role that climate plays in driving disease burdens and affecting human health, according to the Director General of the World Health Organization, Margaret Chan.
With this in mind, the IRI, the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) and the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University organized the Summer Institute 2008 on Climate Information for Public Health. Thirteen professionals from nine countries completed the intensive two-week course, during which they learned how to use climate knowledge to make better decisions for health-care planning and control of climate-sensitive diseases. The Summer Institute included a series of expert presentations and seminars, opportunities for participants to discuss collaborative intersectoral operational and research efforts with each other and expert facilitators, and also to gain hands-on experience with analytic tools. Currently, the Summer Institute team is starting to plan for SI 2009 while using the experience gained in SI 2008 to support a series of training efforts in Colombia, Niger and Ethiopia.
Uncontrolled fires in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, have destroyed vast peatland forest areas, ruined livelihoods, and led to massive releases of smog and greenhouse gases. Our latest audio slideshow tells the story of how IRI and its partners are using science to develop an early-warning system to reduce the risk of these fires occurring.