Providing public health information about global warming
An effective information policy is fundamental to involving the public as partners in promoting better environmental health. Information is not only a prerequisite for effective participation in public decision-making processes; it is also necessary to enable individuals to make informed personal choices in their own lives which benefit their health and the environment.
Global change processes are likely to have wide-ranging and potentially serious health consequences. Some health impacts will result from direct-acting effects (e.g. heatwave-related deaths, and ultraviolet-induced skin cancer); others will result from disturbances to complex physical and ecological processes (e.g. changes in patterns of infectious disease, drinking-water supplies and agricultural yields). Effects on the health of human populations are likely to become evident within the coming decades. Furthermore, failure to reduce fossil fuel combustion (as the principal means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions) will result directly in a continuing (and increasing) avoidable burden of death and disease from exposure to local air pollution.
The health sector should support mitigation policies by widely disseminating relevant evidence- and science-based messages on the human health consequences of climate change among policy-makers, representatives of private enterprises and the general public. It is within the mandate of World Health Organization (WHO) to strengthen this advocacy work in Member States by all possible means.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.