Desertification and public health sessions


In this panel we will discuss desertification, water and health as a case study for implementing One Health / Ecohealth approaches. In recent years there are growing challenges in water policies, ranging from anti-microbial resistance, health effects of water desalination and access to water and sanitation. Desertification and climate impacts on water are felt at every corner of the globe. Water stress will become more acute going forward, due to high population growth, urbanization, structural transformation, climate change, and contamination. The right to water is acknowledged as a basic universal human right interrelated with other rights, including the right to health and to an adequate standard of living. From this perspective it is the state's obligation to ensure the availability, accessibility and quality of water for all persons under its governance. It has to do so in an equitable manner and with special consideration of marginalized groups. The panel will bring an inter-disciplinary perspective on desertification, water and health, dealing with a variety of issues such water quality and allocation, anti-microbial resistance and health influences of water desalination, including from the perspective of health equity and the communities involved.


Desertification is a multifaceted environmental and health challenge in drylands. It is expected to significantly worsen, leading to a further increase in surface temperature, solar radiation, soil moisture and dust storms. The combined impact of climate change and desertification is expected to have deep influences on public health, from food insecurity, water pollution to the spread of infectious diseases and increase in mental health problems especially among vulnerable populations. This panel will discuss the various health effects, taking case studies from various countries and regions.


Health systems around the world are already suffering from desertification and climate change effects on health. These effects are especially apparent in low income countries, including in Africa. Desertification and climate changes are also contributing to political and socio-economic instability, and climate-exacerbated migration is expected to increase. In this panel, we are going to discuss how health systems should adapt to the growing effects of desertification and climate change, especially in low income countries.


Led by Prof. Colin Macdougall, Flinders University


Due to the inter and multi-disciplinary character of desertification, climate change and health related research, there is a growing need to combine various methods, both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. While such mixed methods approach is already quite established in public health research, there is still a need to see how to create true integration among the various methods. In this workshop, aimed mainly for graduate students and researchers we are going to use different examples based on the interest of participants (registered ahead of time)