Empowering Change: SDSN Pakistan Joins Forces for Climate, Health, and Environmental Solutions

In a groundbreaking collaboration, SDSN Pakistan (SDSN-PK), the Institute for Global Health and Development at Aga Khan University (IGHD-AKU), and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), recently convened a transformative conference on November 26 & 27, 2023, entitled "Climate Change, Health, and Environment: Opportunities for Change" in the city of Karachi, Pakistan. This event was attended by nearly 700 participants in-person, and 170 virtually.

This annual conference emerged as a pivotal gathering at the intersection of climate change, health, and environmental studies, providing a dynamic platform for comprehensive discussions on these critical issues. The event successfully united a diverse community of global and local experts, researchers, practitioners, and esteemed guests, including influential figures from Aga Khan University, Aga Khan Development Network, WHO, and UNICEF.

International and local luminaries such as Dr. Sanjay Wijesekera, Regional Director for UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA), Dr Mazen Malkawi, Advisor, Environment Health Exposures, WHO EMRO, Dr Ana Bonell, Assistant Professor, Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Assistant Professor and Assistant Director, Institute for Global Health and Development at Aga Khan University, Christopher Burman, Urban technologist, co-founder of Heat Island, Abid Omar, founder, Pakistan Air Quality Initiative, Dr. Maureen Lichtveld, Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, USA, and Dr. Jill Baumgartner from McGill University, Montreal, graced the conference as keynote speakers, contributing valuable insights to the ongoing discourse on climate change, health, and environmental sustainability.

"The impact of climate change and environmental degradation on human health is profound, and it has been recognized as an existential threat to humanity," emphasized Dr. Jai Das, Assistant Director at the Institute for Global Health and Development at Aga Khan University, during the conference.

Throughout the conference, participants engaged in enlightening discussions, sharing innovative solutions and research findings that promise to shape the future of climate change, health, and environmental sustainability initiatives. The exchange of knowledge and ideas has laid the foundation for catalyzing positive change, with a commitment to informing and inspiring transformative actions in these crucial areas.

Notably, Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta, Network Chair of SDSN-PK, played a pivotal role in the conference. He presented reports gathered from workshops around climate change, environment, and health throughout 2023, highlighting the importance of these issues, particularly for the younger generation. Dr. Bhutta emphasized, "For young people in the world, particularly students, trainees, those who have decades to go still, this is probably the most important issue in global health as it relates to their future."

As a driving force in this collaborative effort, SDSN-PK remains dedicated to fostering sustainable solutions that address the interconnected challenges of climate change, health, and the environment. The conference stands as a testament to the power of collective action and knowledge exchange, paving the way for a more sustainable and resilient future.