Paul OUEDRAOGO - Human Health and Wetlands Health are linked
1. Human Health and Wetlands
Health are linked
Senior Regional Advisor for
Ramsar Convention Secretariat
4th International Disaster and
Risk Conference (IDRC) Davos
2012 (26-30 August 2012)
Plenary Session: Linking One Health and Hyogo
Framework for Action
2. Wetland are part of our natural wealth
Provide us with services–
entirely free of charge –
making a vital contribution to
human health and well-
Increasing pressure on water resources and the threats
posed by climate change, the need to maximise these
benefits has never been greater or more urgent.
3. Statement: unsustainable use modified Water
Quality and Quantity
Technology, engineering and medicine
Successfully water and wetlands
foster human health.
Increasing rates of consumption ,
alterations to land use and land cover
and irrigation, all associated with
agriculture, urban expansion, and global
modified wetland systems, in terms of
both water quality and water quantity.
4. Framework of coherence
Central for wetland
strategies that support
the maintenance of both
character and human
implementation of the
Ramsar Convention on
Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran,
1971), One Health
concept and Hyogo
Framework for Action and
5. Ecosystem services and benefits for human health
Often seen only as the source of vector or waterborne diseases, and a
widespread misinterpretation of wetlands as ‘the problem’ for human
health 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
Understanding these and other
benefits provide the basis for
fostering human health and well-
being while managing wetlands.
6. 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 service
1. Sufficient Water
Some people are often highly dependent
on wetland ecosystem services and are
3. Exposure to
directly harmed by their degradation; in
other instances wetlands are the basis of
4. Infection economic structures and are embedded
5. Exposure to in cultural expressions.
6. Mental health/
These benefits can also determine
psychological human health, directly and indirectly.
7. Livelihood More effective treatment of the tradeoffs
between different forms of benefits will
7. Healthy wetlands, healthy people, and other
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
8. Two paradoxes exist
First, degraded ecosystem services can provide
benefits to people in such a way that there are
positive health outcomes.
Secondly, maintained or enhanced ecosystem
services can have problematic consequences for
Human interactions in wetland ecosystems are
complex and involve choices: tradeoffs between
benefits that will occur when wetlands are
developed or in which some services are
promoted or favoured over others.
Need to assess the direct benefits and potential
losses when managing wetlands to reach
compromises and agreed tradeoffs between
services and beneficiaries.
9. Others wetlands related issues
Wetland management for water
Wetland management for food
Wetland management for
livelihoods and lifestyles
Wetland management: changes in
Wetland management: higher
levels of policy development
Wetland management for reducing the risks of
exposures to disease
Wetlands management for psycho-social health,
and the effects of disasters
10. Wetland management for reducing the risks
of exposures to disease
Humans can be exposed to health risks in
wetland ecosystems: toxic materials, water-
borne or vector borne diseases.
While steps can be taken to ameliorate these
risks, the risks can increase (sometimes
dramatically) if disruption occurs to
ecosystems and the services they provide.
Human health can be affected by acute or
chronic exposure to toxicants, through the
media of water, wetland sediments, or even
air when sediments become desiccated and
airborne or burnt.
11. Role of human behaviours and activities
The nature of these exposures is
exacerbated by human behaviours
and activities and they can result
whenever ecosystem services have
been eroded – especially when the
hydrological services that maintain
biological, geological and chemical
processes have been distorted by
human activities of over extraction
Drainage and diversions of water are the two activities responsible
for the majority of such changes.
12. Wetlands management for psycho-social
health, and the effects of disasters
Wetlands become embedded in the human psyche in
formulations of “sense of place”. Changes to wetlands can
influence a person’s mental health by becoming a source of
Physical hazards, externalities
like floods, earthquakes,
cyclones, and drought, can
magnify any of these
The pathways to such disease
events may affect a spectrum
of community members.
13. 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.
14. Resilience strategies
To be in line with the theme of
the conference it makes sense to
strategy on integrative risk
management perspective where
risks are interrelated and require
multidisciplinary approaches and
This PPT shows evidence of the
connection between human
health and ecosystem health.
This is part of the One Health
concept. Ramsar is participating
in the Scientific Task Force on
15. Resilience strategies: One Health
Develop strategies that support the maintenance of
both wetland ecological character and human health.
Wetland managers must have information that will
allow them to articulate, and respond professionally.
Need more effective treatment of the tradeoffs
between different forms of benefits will be required.
Need to assess carefully the direct benefits and
potential direct and indirect losses when managing
wetlands and, in some instances, to reach compromises
and agreed tradeoffs between services and beneficiaries.
16. Resilience strategies: Capacity building
Another strategy is putting greater emphasis on what communities can
do for themselves and how to strengthen their capacities.
Only an integrative risk management approach will ensure sustainable
health management in a changing climate, resource depletion, wetlands
and biodiversity loss, land degradation, water and food insecurity, over
population and development challenges globally.
The characteristics of resilient community include the wise use of
wetlands ecosystem through the implementation of integrated
environmental and natural resource management approaches that
incorporate disaster risk reduction, including flood and drought
This is one of the Hyogo Framework priorities for action: Reduce the
underlying risk factors.