Health adaptation policy for climate change: Global and national deficits, local rural disadvantage
Bell, EJ and Seidel, BM, Health adaptation policy for climate change: Global and national deficits, local rural disadvantage, Conference handbook: Sharing knowledge to adapt, 26-28 June 2012, Melbourne, pp. 1-460. ISBN 978-1-921609-51-0 (2012) [Conference Extract]
The majority of developed countries have developed or are in the process of developing adaptation policy statements. What place does health have in these policy statements? What form should health adaptation policy take? These potentially influential policy statements have not yet been collectively analysed for the ways that they reproduce particular discourses in the operation of their meaning-making for health adaptation. This presentation of a 2012 completed international study investigates and maps health adaptation policy (describing its nature as a policy presence and absence) via a discourse analysis of all available adaptation policy documents from Annex 1 countries in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Adaptation policy statements from all intra-government agencies active at the global level in producing climate change adaptation policy are also considered. The study uses the language-based analytic techniques of Fairclough and Foucault to reveal that the policy texts operate within an ordered universe of discourses that works to disguise its social privilege and self-interest. This universe of discourses reproduces certain scientific discourses and knowledge-making and actively marginalises particular communities such as rural and remote communities and particular forms of knowledge for rural health services critical to effective responses to climate change in these communities. The study finds that the implementation of climate adaptation policy documents without critical revision is likely to further disadvantage many communities most at risk from climate change, particularly in terms of health. It identifies what kinds of knowledge is being privileged, appropriated and marginalised at the global and national level by climate policy statements, how, and possible strategies for developing effective climate and health policy for rural communities.