Water for Climate Mental Health Resilience - Integrating inclusive water strategies in climate services

Sanae Okamoto (UNU-MERIT) ; Nidhi Nagabhatla (UNU-CRIS); Robert Oaks & Kariuki Weru (UNU-EHS), UNU-MERIT ; UNU-CRIS ; UNU-EHS & WHO

The session aims to enhance understanding of the following elements by assessing gaps and needs in the existing support mechanisms through capturing reflections from different geographic regions, voices from practices and youth and their capacities to integrate support services in water strategies:

  1. Interlinkages of water insecurity, water-related disasters, climate risks and mental health and psychosocial well-being, with a focus on vulnerability factors and inequalities.

  2. Environmental degradation and biodiversity and its impact on mental health (e.g., climate change anxiety, eco-grief, solastalgia).

  3. What unique advantages could the youth and future generations have/contribute to the vision of an inclusive climate-resilient future?

  4. Multisectoral and community-based approaches on how we can build and implement smart water strategies in climate services to enable building mental health resilience for all.



Welcome word: Bartel Van de Walle, UNU-MERIT - Director, Professor.

Scope of the session: Sanae Okamoto, UNU-MERIT - Researcher.

Opening keynote speech: Xiaomeng Shen, UNU-EHS - Director, Professor / UNU-ViE  Vice Rector in Europe

Moderation: Nidhi Nagabhatla, UNU CRIS - Senior Research Fellow.

Session support: Kariuki Weru, UNU EHS - Researcher.

Insights from different geographic regions, Gender and vulnerability issues.

  1. Tahseen Jafry: Professor of the Mary Robinson Center for Climate Justice, Glasgow Caledonian University.
  2. Quincia Gumbs Marie: Hon. Minister of Sustainability, Innovation & the Environment, / Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers, Minister of Education and Social Development at Government of Republic of Anguilla.
  3. Deodato Xavier Dias: Ministry of Health, São Tomé and Príncipe.
  4. Amal Sarsour: Researcher, psychosocial well-being support for women in Palestine, UNU-CRIS

  5. Kehkashan Basu: Founder, Green Hope Foundation - Youth led global social innovation enterprise, Canada


Insights from practice

  1. Matteo Innocenti: Psychiatrist / Psychotherapist, Italian Institute for Planetary Health, Istituto Psicologico Italiano, Italian Climate Change Anxiety Association, European Climate Pact Ambassador, Italy (https://aiacc.it/).
  2. Kenneth Yongabi Anchang: Director PRF Research Group, Imo State University, Nigeria.
  3. Christian Schweizer or Oliver Schmoll: Scientist, Climate Change and Health, WHO.


Insights from Disaster Risk Reductions, Emergency response, Water insecurities

  1. Jekulin Lipi Saikia: United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth, Asia-Pacific focal point - DRR, UN MGCY, India
  2. Duminda Perera: Researcher, UNU-INWEH DRR, Water disasters and threats.
  3. Elena Lopez Gunn: Director, ICATALIST, Spain.
  • Closing remarks: Robert Oakes, UNU-EHS.


Watch the playback / recorded session here.

Venue: Online

Date: 20 March 2023

Time: 15:00 - 16:30  CET