Reviews and Stakeholder Interviews
To carry out a series of literature reviews to: inform HAIFA web system design and development; develop a robust understanding of the key concepts and factors for supporting ‘information for action’ with respect to climate change and human health; inform the development of a process to extend the HAIFA resource system (technology transfer); and carry out stakeholder interviews to better understand institutional readiness for using the HAIFA climate change and human health impacts modelling tool for informing adaptation planning.
Web System Development
There are a wide range of international papers published and models developed concerning the impacts of climate variability and change on human health and infectious diseases. A few of these use Geographic Information System functionalities for spatial analysis processes. There are also both online tools that allow users to create images, maps and even videos of how the climate may change and online ones for health and disease surveillance. However, no web based tools incorporating models of human infectious disease and future climate change scenarios could be found. Nevertheless, offline standalone human health tools suited to examining impacts of climate change on human diseases have been developed. The literature review contains a summary of those tools reviewed at the time of writing.
Information For Action
Whilst well utilised in professional discourse, there seems to be scant literature that provides a coherent model or unpacks what the term ‘information for action’ might actually mean. ‘Information for action’ is a term commonly used within the data management and health informatics professions. It concerns the importance that data and information gathered and collated in a public health surveillance setting is utilised to inform and support meaningful, practical action. The literature review discusses the different terminologies and approaches with a focus on ‘social capital’ and ‘information and communication’ as key components of adaptive capacity for communities and organisations. The review also identified institutional barriers to climate change adaptation planning, with an emphasis on empirical studies of the local government or environment, and the public health sectors. Finally the review discusses the process of ‘mainstreaming’.
There is no shortage of literature on “technology transfer” or associated processes of innovation diffusion. Since the publication of Ryan and Gross’s (1943) work on the diffusion of the use of hybrid seed corn, widely considered the touchstone publication for the field, some 4,000 publications across a range of innovations have been published. The literature review sets out to define how terms including technology transfer, technology extension, and diffusion of innovation have come to be used. The review also examines the development of the diffusion of innovation concept, outlines a range of other conceptualisations of the diffusion process, and looks specifically at the shift in technology transfer from linear transfer mechanisms to more participatory approaches. The review then connects with work done elsewhere in the HAIFA programme to address a range of literatures specifically related to communicating climate change knowledge.
This qualitative study interviewed 20 key experts. Questions focused on identifying different institutional drivers and barriers, and better understanding of the roles and relationships between public health, local, central and regional government, and the rural sector with respect to health impacts of climate change. The interviews also sought to explore interviewees’ interpretation of climate change impacts and awareness, the use of climate change planning tools, and how different organisations approached adaptation planning. Expert views of the areas where climate change may affect human health in New Zealand reflected those identified in the international literature. Many respondents noted that there are limited climate change tools and information available that has the level of regional or local specificity required. Most significantly, similar to overseas research, this study suggests that specialised planning specific to the impacts of climate change on human health may be marginal in most organisations. Several key reasons were given and are discussed. ‘Mainstreaming’ was deemed a good way to ensure that planning for climate change was not a stand alone or a specially dedicated initiative, but rather would be combined and integrated with other routine, ‘business as usual’ planning activities. How robust this is in practice is discussed.