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Making and doing data in the Global South: prospects for environmental health action 
Celia Mir-Alvarez (Cermes3, Université Paris Cité)
Justyna Moizard-Lanvin (Université Paris Cité)
Khadim MBOW (Paris City university)
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Environmental exposures pose a global health risk, especially across the Global South. This panel aims to explore the actors, decisions, and infrastructure involved in the environmental (health) data-production process in this part of the world, and its effect on public (in)action.

Long Abstract:

High levels of air pollution, contaminated waters and soils, and other environmental exposures pose an alarming global health risk. This is particularly the case in the Global South, where poorly regulated industries, unprecedented growth and expansion of urban areas, increased vehicle ownership, and other polluting activities are on the rise – often with little to no oversight. In this context, national and local governments, many times in collaboration with bilateral and transnational actors (the World Bank, WHO, UNEP, among others), are attempting to quantify the extent and intensity of this pollution to estimate damages on health, the environment, the economy, and overall development. This step is often deemed as necessary before setting recommendations, strengthening regulatory frameworks, or implementing policy actions. Yet who, exactly, produces this data? Who owns and governs it? How is it treated, analyzed, transformed, and put to use? What markets and companies – often from third-party countries or organizations – intervene in the process? Who maintains, or cares for, this data-producing infrastructure? What place do public health officials (and their data) occupy? What are the outcomes for the populations living in affected areas? What data-production movements are emerging “from below” by citizens and activists?

This panel aims to explore the different ways in which environmental exposures are apprehended, managed, and measured across the Global South. This includes the production of scientific knowledge and guidelines by local or foreign actors and the establishment of environmental (health) monitoring or surveillance networks, among others. Studies of citizen-led strategies to measure environmental exposures are also encouraged. Proposals should put the data-producing process in a critical light and question the effect this form of “making and doing” has on public (in)action in low- and middle-income countries. Case studies can include urban, peri-urban (ex. industrial sites) or rural areas.

Accepted papers: