188.8.131.52 Responses by international organisations and agencies
Improvements in international surveillance systems facilitate national and regional preparedness and reduce future vulnerability to epidemic-prone diseases. At present, surveillance systems in many parts of the world are incomplete and slow to respond to disease outbreaks. It is expected that this will improve through the implementation of the International Health Regulations. Improvements in the responsiveness and accuracy of current surveillance programmes, including addressing spatial and temporal limitations, are needed to account for and anticipate the increased pressures on disease-control programmes that are projected to result from climate change. Earth observations, monitoring and surveillance, such as remote sensing and biosensors, may increase the accuracy and precision of some of these activities (Maynard, 2006).
Donors, international and national aid agencies, emergency relief agencies, and a range of non-governmental organisations play key roles through direct aid, support of research and development, and other approaches developed in conjunction with national Ministries of Health to improve current public-health responses and to more effectively incorporate climate-change-related risks into the design, implementation and evaluation of disease-control policies and measures.
Two or more countries can develop international responses jointly when adverse health outcomes and their drivers cross borders. For example, flood prevention guidelines were developed through the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe for countries along the Elbe, Danube, Rhine and other transboundary rivers where floods have intensified due to human alteration of the environment (UN, 2000). The guidelines recognise that co-operation is needed both within and between riparian countries in order to reduce current impacts and increase future resilience.