UWI expert tapped to participate in climate change and health policy global research initiative

by July 14, 2023

Professor Anthony Clayton, The University of the West Indies’ leading expert in foresighting and future-oriented planning, has been recruited by The Inter-Academy Partnership (IAP) to participate in a new initiative to assemble the world’s best solutions for climate change and health policies. The Inter-Academy Partnership (IAP) is a global research network that links all of the Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine of the world.

Climate change is expected to seriously disrupt the supplies of food and water on which humanity depends. It could also result in nearly 200 million refugees over the next two decades as people are driven out of lands that are too hot and arid to support life or are disappearing under the sea as polar ice caps melt. People may be displaced by the progressive loss of coastal cities and infrastructure to rising seas and increasingly powerful hurricanes. This is likely to result in competition for land, water and resources, which will increase the risk of terrorism and conflict. The combination could put exceptional strain on a number of states, which could result in the breakdown of essential health and other services.

Such complex and profoundly serious challenges call for a new approach to problem-solving. It is important to address all of the dimensions of the problem in order to generate viable, long-term solutions. Climate mitigation and adaptation require rethinking the world’s energy, food, water, urban planning, construction and transport sectors – searching for solutions that can sustain human health and welfare while substantially reducing the strain on core global environmental systems.

The Inter-Academy Partnership (IAP), which is a network of over 140 national science academies and 30,000 leading scientists, engineers and health professionals in over 100 countries, will now lead a global program to encourage the multi-sectoral, systems-based studies and policies needed with the goal of embedding these ideas into government thinking and practice. The IAP has embarked on a search for the world’s best solutions that can sustain human health and welfare under the severe challenges of climate change.

Professor Anthony Clayton has been recruited to join the committee that will review the best available solutions, and choose those that are to go forward to the governments of the world.

Responding to being tapped for this role, Professor Clayton said he was “honoured to have been asked to serve on this program, which is of truly global significance”.