Paul OUEDRAOGO - Human Health and Wetlands Health are linked
Human Health and Wetlands Health are linked Paul Ouédraogo, Senior Regional Advisor for AfricaRamsar Convention Secretariat4th International Disaster andRisk Conference (IDRC) Davos 2012 (26-30 August 2012) Plenary Session: Linking One Health and Hyogo Framework for Action
Wetland are part of our natural wealthProvide us with services–entirely free of charge –making a vital contribution tohuman health and well-being.Increasing pressure on water resources and the threatsposed by climate change, the need to maximise thesebenefits has never been greater or more urgent.
Statement: unsustainable use modified Water Quality and QuantityTechnology, engineering and medicineSuccessfully water and wetlandsfoster human health.Increasing rates of consumption ,alterations to land use and land coverand irrigation, all associated withagriculture, urban expansion, and globalenvironmental change,modified wetland systems, in terms ofboth water quality and water quantity.
Framework of coherenceCentral for wetlandmanagement: developingstrategies that supportthe maintenance of bothwetland ecologicalcharacter and humanhealth.Through theimplementation of theRamsar Convention onWetlands (Ramsar, Iran,1971), One Healthconcept and HyogoFramework for Action andother processes.
Ecosystem services and benefits for human healthOften seen only as the source of vector or waterborne diseases, and awidespread misinterpretation of wetlands as ‘the problem’ for humanhealth requires careful treatment and attention. Better land and water management is required, including a richer sense of the roles of biodiversity in parasite regulation, to emphasize the benefits that humans derive from wetlands. Understanding these and other benefits provide the basis for fostering human health and well- being while managing wetlands.
Health Issues Examples of Examples of Health effects, health Examples or relevant wetland disruptions to outcomes resulting case studies ecosystem wetland from diminished services ecosystems service1. Sufficient Water Some people are often highly dependent2. Nutrition on wetland ecosystem services and are3. Exposure topollution directly harmed by their degradation; in other instances wetlands are the basis of4. Infection economic structures and are embedded5. Exposure to in cultural expressions.physical hazards6. Mental health/ These benefits can also determinepsychological human health, directly and indirectly.well-being7. Livelihood More effective treatment of the tradeoffs between different forms of benefits will8. Lifestyle be required.9.Medication
Healthy wetlands, healthy people, and other relationships Humans: agents for the maintenance or restoration of ecosystems. And the health of humans a measure of the health of the ecosystem. A claim to ‘healthy ecosystems’ comes from judgments about the desirability of a certain ecological character Ways of perceiving the relationship ‘healthy wetlands, healthy people’. Human health outcomes can be either adverse or improved, depending upon whether or not ecosystem services are either degraded or maintained/enhanced
Two paradoxes existFirst, degraded ecosystem services can providebenefits to people in such a way that there arepositive health outcomes.Secondly, maintained or enhanced ecosystemservices can have problematic consequences forhuman well-being.Human interactions in wetland ecosystems arecomplex and involve choices: tradeoffs betweenbenefits that will occur when wetlands aredeveloped or in which some services arepromoted or favoured over others.Need to assess the direct benefits and potentiallosses when managing wetlands to reachcompromises and agreed tradeoffs betweenservices and beneficiaries.
Others wetlands related issuesWetland management for waterand sanitationWetland management for foodsecurityWetland management forlivelihoods and lifestylesWetland management: changes inperspectives requiredWetland management: higherlevels of policy developmentWetland management for reducing the risks ofexposures to diseaseWetlands management for psycho-social health,and the effects of disasters
Wetland management for reducing the risks of exposures to diseaseHumans can be exposed to health risks inwetland ecosystems: toxic materials, water-borne or vector borne diseases.While steps can be taken to ameliorate theserisks, the risks can increase (sometimesdramatically) if disruption occurs toecosystems and the services they provide.Human health can be affected by acute orchronic exposure to toxicants, through themedia of water, wetland sediments, or evenair when sediments become desiccated andairborne or burnt.
Role of human behaviours and activitiesThe nature of these exposures isexacerbated by human behavioursand activities and they can resultwhenever ecosystem services havebeen eroded – especially when thehydrological services that maintainbiological, geological and chemicalprocesses have been distorted byhuman activities of over extractionof water.Drainage and diversions of water are the two activities responsiblefor the majority of such changes.
Wetlands management for psycho-socialhealth, and the effects of disastersWetlands become embedded in the human psyche informulations of “sense of place”. Changes to wetlands caninfluence a person’s mental health by becoming a source ofpsychological stress.Physical hazards, externalitieslike floods, earthquakes,cyclones, and drought, canmagnify any of theseexposures.The pathways to such diseaseevents may affect a spectrumof community members.
Call for Partnership Universities, research centres, social scientists, risk management:• Communities are complex and often not united. There will be differences in wealth, social status and labour activity between people living in the same area and there may be more serious divisions within the community• On modelling the social complexity and the decision analytical model.• Put a strong emphasis on Adaptive Management coupled with a decision analytical model.
Resilience strategiesTo be in line with the theme ofthe conference it makes sense tostrategy on integrative riskmanagement perspective whererisks are interrelated and requiremultidisciplinary approaches andinitiatives.This PPT shows evidence of theconnection between humanhealth and ecosystem health.This is part of the One Healthconcept. Ramsar is participatingin the Scientific Task Force onAvian Influenza.
Resilience strategies: One HealthDevelop strategies that support the maintenance ofboth wetland ecological character and human health.Wetland managers must have information that willallow them to articulate, and respond professionally.Need more effective treatment of the tradeoffsbetween different forms of benefits will be required.Need to assess carefully the direct benefits andpotential direct and indirect losses when managingwetlands and, in some instances, to reach compromisesand agreed tradeoffs between services and beneficiaries.
Resilience strategies: Capacity buildingAnother strategy is putting greater emphasis on what communities cando for themselves and how to strengthen their capacities.Only an integrative risk management approach will ensure sustainablehealth management in a changing climate, resource depletion, wetlandsand biodiversity loss, land degradation, water and food insecurity, overpopulation and development challenges globally. The characteristics of resilient community include the wise use ofwetlands ecosystem through the implementation of integratedenvironmental and natural resource management approaches thatincorporate disaster risk reduction, including flood and droughtmanagement.This is one of the Hyogo Framework priorities for action: Reduce theunderlying risk factors.