The project in each of the seven countries
Albania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Uzbekistan were selected based the following criteria:
- observed climate-related exposures such as extreme events, water scarcity, glacier melting, permafrost thawing;
- severity of projected health effects;
- existing collaborative mechanisms between WHO and the government and underlying capacity for project implementation;
- eligibility for Official Development Assistance (ODA).
Each of them is politically committed to engage further into climate change. They all ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and five of them also ratified the Kyoto protocol. However, there is little awareness of climate change effects on health, highlighting the need for an improved cooperation between the environment and health sectors on this topic.
Different climatic zones and associated potential health impacts
- Arid and semi-arid water stressed areas
This is the case of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, with potential risks for infectious diseases, respiratory diseases and nutrition.
- High mountain areas
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan belong to this area. They bear potential risks from glacier lake outburst floods, high UV radiation exposure, water quality in health systems and potential opportunities from renewable energy for health care.
- Mediterranean countries
Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, both in Mediterranean basin, share risks from extreme weather events and infectious disease outbreaks.
- The Russian subarctic and arctic region
The northern part of the Russian Federation is threatened by potential disruption of health care activities from permafrost melting.