News

WHO and FAO Hold Seminar on Health Implications of Climate Change Impacts on Food Safety

14 October 2008: The World Health Organization (WHO)

Regional Office for Europe, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and

the European Food Safety Authority held a seminar in Rome, Italy, in

conjunction with the celebration of World Food Day (16 October), to discuss

health implications of climate impacts on nutrition, food and water safety.

During the seminar, Marc Danzon, WHO Regional Director for Europe, explained

that in light of the known health threats posed by climate change, the question

is deciding on the type of public health action required. He called for: strengthening

disease control and health protection; ensuring clean water and sanitation, as

well as safe and adequate food; increasing disease surveillance and response;

enhancing disaster preparedness; increasing health professionals' awareness of

climate-related diseases; delivering accurate and timely information to

citizens; and advocating to other sectors reduced emissions that can benefit

health.

He underscored that urgent action will lead to greater benefits and

imply lesser costs. Ezzeddine Boutrif, Director of the Nutrition and Consumer

Protection Division of FAO, underlined the implications of climate change for

food production, security and safety, and nutrition. She stressed the need for:

proactive management based on an increasingly clear understanding of

climate-related impacts at all stages of the food chain; and strengthened

interdisciplinary approaches.

She highlighted the FAO's EMPRES (Emergency

Prevention System for Transboundary Animals and Plant Pests and Diseases)

programme, which will enhance FAO's capacity to collect and analyze

intelligence for the early detection of food safety problems and to develop

guidance for managing emerging risks. [WHO Europe Press

Release]