23–25 March 2015, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — The Asia-Pacific Region is the most disaster-prone area of the world. On a per capita basis, it accounts for 91%, 92% and 66% of global human exposure to tropical cyclones, floods and landslides, respectively. Since 2000, 1.2 billion people have been exposed to hydro-meteorological hazards alone through 1,215 disaster events.
From 23–25 March 2015, a Science-Policy Dialogue funded by the APN was held at the United Nations University-International Institute for Global Health’s Building in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Dialogue represents the second phase of the APN-funded project entitled “Global Environmental Change and Human Health: Extreme Events and Urbanization in the APN Region.” The first phase involved the training of 25 young scientists from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Philippines, China and Australia through a symposium and workshop on the same topic from 14–18 January 2013.
The recently-concluded Dialogue was attended by 25 local and foreign participants from Malaysia, Australia, Thailand and China. The objective of the Dialogue was to solicit new and pertinent knowledge and information on emergency preparedness and management of the health impacts of extreme weather events that can be disseminated to policy makers and relevant stakeholders for the purpose of mitigating and adapting to increasing threats of extreme weather events in the Asia-Pacific Region.
Three overseas and four local speakers including Prof. Jamal Hisham Hashim and Dr. Atsuro Tsutsumi of UNU-IIGH gave presentations on various topics related to the Dialogue. The speakers from overseas were Prof. Yang Linsheng from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Beijing, Prof. Max Finlayson from Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Bathurst, Australia, and Dr. Salmah Zakaria from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) in Bangkok. Four work groups deliberated on climate projection and weather forecasting, impacts, emergency preparedness and response, and mitigation and adaptation. These work groups have generated write-ups which will be compiled into a policy brief that will be published online later this year.
By: Prof. Jamal Hisham Hashim, project leader, CBA2013-02CMY-Hashim