Queen Margaret University has brought global researchers and policy makers together to examine the effect of climate change on fragile countries.

The research has found that while the effects are being felt all over the globe, there is a particular impact in nations experiencing political and economic insecurity. Countries like Lebanon with more than a million refugees mean that water shortage is one of the most difficult to deal with.

In Mozambique there is conflict in the north and populations which are cut off by flooding. The link between climate change and these factors is vital in order to find practical solutions.

The research includes local knowledge of partners in Lebanon, Mozambique, Georgia and Costa Rica to map out the range of interrelated factors which affect the way climate change is impacting people’s health and wellbeing. A webinar on Tuesday 2 November will discuss the research and its results.

Professor Alastair Ager, Director of the Institute for Global Health and Development at Queen Margaret University, said: “We often associate the fight against climate change with the headline grabbing issues such as how we reduce carbon emissions in a targeted time frame or how we prevent further climate change. This work is important.

“But we need to give equal attention to a country’s ability to adapt to changes that are already upon us. The 1.5 degrees increase in temperature ‘baked in’ to the system already brings risks of more intense and frequent flooding, poorer air quality, heatwaves, increases in crop damaging pests and insects that spread disease. States that are already fragile due to political, economic or social factors face major challenges in addressing the impact of these risks on human health, food production and livelihoods.

“COP26 will look at two main areas of dealing with climate change – how we ‘mitigate’ the effects of climate change by the reduction of carbon use to prevent further warming of the planet, and understanding how countries can ‘adapt’ to address existing risks. Our work aims to encourage researchers from across a range of disciplines to come together to address this second, previously neglected, area.

“Along with our international partners our research aims to increase understanding by using a method called system dynamics modelling to identify the complexities of adapting to climate change in fragile settings. We have focused specifically on Lebanon, Mozambique, Georgia and Costa Rica, but aim to identify lessons of wider relevance. It is anticipated that with this in-country research knowledge we will help identify interventions which will build resilience and assist in protecting the health and wellbeing of people living in these countries.

“We are excited to utilise our years of research experience of working in fragile states, and with in-country partners, to help increase our understanding of the complexities and challenges facing certain countries in the fight against climate change. Our aim is that this new approach to researching in this area will strengthen the global collaboration in addressing the climate change emergency.”

The work is led by Queen Margaret University and colleagues from the Global Health Academy of the University of Edinburgh.

The team will present findings at a global webinar – featuring case studies from each country – on Tuesday 2nd November 2021 at 3.00pm – timed to coincide with world leader deliberations on the climate crisis at COP26

Funding for this research has been provided by RSE COP26 Climate Change Network grants.

Details of Webinar

The Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University and Global Health Academy, University of Edinburgh are inviting you all to the webinar

Informing adaptation strategy through mapping the dynamics linking climate change, health and other human systems: Case studies from Georgia, Lebanon, Mozambique, and Costa Rica’

About the webinar

CoP26 provides a crucial forum to address the multi-sectoral challenges posed by the climate crisis. This webinar discusses insights for national adaptation strategies provided by systematic mapping of the dynamic linkages between climate, environment, health, agriculture, and economic development in four very different fragile settings. 

Target Audience

All interested in unpacking the complexity of the climate crisis; researchers committed to exploring the interface of different disciplines; policy makers seeking to foster inter-sectoral action.

Date & Time Tuesday 2nd November 2021, 3.00-4.00pm GMT

Please register here


Prof Alastair Ager and Giulia Loffreda, IGHD, Queen Margaret University, UK

Prof Liz Grant, Global Health Academy, University of Edinburgh, UK

Dr Tatiana Marrufo, Instituto Nacional de Saúde, Ministério da Saúde, Mozambique

Dr Fady Asmar, Forestry Expert, Lebanon

Dr. Mariam Maglakelidze, Dean of the School of Medicine, Georgia

Dr Juan Robalino, Economics Research Institute (IICE), Universidad de Costa Rica