12 December 2023

64th ITM Colloquium Highlights : Understanding the Global Landscape of Disease Burden in the Context of Climate Change

In a significant gathering addressing the impact of climate change on global health, the 64th ITM Colloquium brought together experts in Kathmandu, Nepal, from November 21st to 23rd. The event aimed to share insights on how climate change affects diseases and health worldwide.

Climate change has disproportionately affected low- and middle-income countries like Nepal, manifesting through rising temperatures, altered precipitation patterns, and an increased frequency of extreme weather events. Glacial melting in the Himalayas has intensified risks of water-borne diseases, flooding, and landslides, while temperature spikes have accelerated the spread of vector-borne diseases and respiratory ailments.

At the heart of the Colloquium was a shared mission — to foster the exchange of information among scientists globally. Their collective focus was understanding the intricate consequences of climate change on global health and devising adaptive strategies in response.

The Colloquium unfolded across six thematic sessions, each delving into a specific facet of the climate change and health :

  • Climate Change and Planetary Health
  • Uncovering the Complex Relationship Between Infectious Diseases and Climate Change
  • Climate Change and Mental Health
  • Addressing Non-communicable Diseases and Climate Change
  • Climate Change, Child Health, and Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • Global and National Response to Address Health Risks of Climate Change

Bodo Ahrens, DISTENDER  joined as a key speaker, delivered a presentation on Climate Change Hotspots, shedding light on critical factors such as Elevation-Dependent Warming and Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall. He emphasized the profound impact of every tonne of CO2 emissions on global warming and potential climate futures.

Ahrens highlighted cities as hotspots of climate impacts, citing the urban heat island effect. In this context, he referenced the DISTENDER as a relevant initiative contributing to our understanding and addressing these challenges.

The Colloquium culminated with a collective call to action. Experts underscored the urgent need for better and more reliable short-term warnings for the public, recognizing their pivotal role in mitigating the health risks associated with climate change.