Climate change and health equity in developing countries: a policy perspective in Nepal

Laufzeit: Seit 01.10.2020

Sudeepa Khanal Bhattarai (Projektleitung);

Projektpartner:innen: Prof. Dr. Melanie Böckmann
Projekttyp: Promotionsprojekt



Climate change and health equity are two interconnected issues that have implications for both the environment and human well-being (Deb et al., 2012). Climate change affects public health both directly, through changes in extreme weather events (CDC, 2020), and indirectly, through changes in environmental and socio-economic factors (Jerald and Ana, 2018). Additionally, climate change exacerbates health problems that already impose a significant burden on vulnerable populations (Campbell and Corvalan, 2007). The need to address climate change and health equity issues is of global importance, as evidenced by their documentation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Agreement in Paris (UNFCCC, 2017), and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (Diana et al., 2017). Achieving health equity involves addressing the underlying factors to ensure that everyone can attain their highest level of health.

Policies have powerful implications for achieving intended outcomes, and integrating health equity considerations into climate change-related policies is necessary to ensure that the impacts of climate change are addressed in a fair and just manner (Hall and Graffunder, 2016). Given the growing recognition of the importance of equity-focused responses to climate change, empirical and policy studies to understand health equity in relation to climate change have increased in the last few decades. Nevertheless, the incorporation of health equity measures in climate change policy decisions has not been adequately explored, and limited studies have reviewed how national policies or adaptation strategies respond to the health needs of vulnerable groups. Such studies from Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) like Nepal are rare.


This PhD project aims to conceptualize a health equity-focused policy analysis framework in the context of climate change in developing countries and explore the extent to which various existing national policies in Nepal for health and climate change consider the prevailing health equity issues in the communities.

The specific objectives of the study are as follows:

  • Literature Review and Framework Development: Review existing literature and adapt and develop an evidence-based policy analysis framework for analyzing national health policy and climate change policies to gain a better understanding of health equity in the context of climate change.
  • Application of Policy Analysis Framework: Utilize the developed/adapted policy analysis framework to explore the extent to which the national policies on health and climate change in Nepal consider the health equity issues.
  • Barriers and Opportunities Exploration: Investigate the barriers and opportunities for incorporating health equity dimensions in health and climate change policies in Nepal.

Methodological Approaches

This study will employ a combination of systematic review, document analysis, and in-depth stakeholder interviews to comprehensively examine the incorporation of health equity considerations within health and climate change policies in Nepal.

a) Systematic Review: A systematic review will be conducted to map various theories and frameworks on policy analysis related to health equity, climate change, and the intersection of climate change and equity. The primary focus of the systematic review is to identify policy analysis frameworks that centre on health equity, aiming to understand how health equity considerations are integrated into climate change policies. Drawing insights from the systematic review, a policy analysis framework will be developed or adapted to effectively analyze health and climate change policies in Nepal while encompassing diverse health equity aspects.

b) Document Analysis: Employing the developed/adapted policy analysis framework, a theory-focused document analysis will be carried out systematically. This analysis will review national-level health and climate change policies to gain a comprehensive understanding of health equity dimensions within the context of climate change. This process will involve an examination of important policy documents from both the health and climate change sectors, as well as constitutional documents and policy papers from the federal level.

c) In-depth Stakeholder Interviews: Utilizing a qualitative approach, in-depth key informant interviews will be conducted with pertinent government and non-government stakeholders. The aim of these interviews will be to gain insights into the diverse barriers and opportunities associated with integrating health equity dimensions into various health and climate change policies in Nepal. These interviews will provide valuable perspectives on the challenges and potential avenues for enhancing health equity within policy frameworks.

Expected Outputs

Regional/global level

  • Synthesis of policy analysis frameworks to understand health equity in the climate change context.
  • A novel comprehensive policy analysis framework to understand health equity in the face of climate change in developing countries.

Country level

  • Knowledge base on the existing policy priorities to address health equity in climate change measures in Nepal.
  • critical contextual information about the processes, barriers, and facilitators for incorporation of health equity measures in the climate change related health policies and climate change policies in Nepal.

Aktualisiert von: IPP-Content