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WHO conference on climate change and health: Lessons learnt in the European Region

From 4-6 June 2012 HEAL participated in a workshop reflecting progress made and lessons learned in protecting health against climate change in the WHO European Region, with regard to the Commitment to Act endorsed at the Parma Fifth Ministerial Conference in 2010. Representatives of the 53 countries met to discuss adaptation plans, the contribution of the health sector to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, best practices in raising awareness for climate change as well as progress and existing gaps of research in these fields. High level speakers from the UN and EU agencies as well as researchers reported on new findings and challenges on climate change and health in line with the Parma declaration.

WHO has taken the lead on important climate policy developments in the European Region, including the fostering a Regional Framework for Action, which countries are now discussing how to turn into action. The first meeting of the Working Group on Climate Change and Health (HIC), of which HEAL is a member, was held to discuss how to support countries and exchange best practice in implementing the framework.

HEAL gave a presentation on success stories of raising the awareness for health issues in climate change mitigation and led a group discussion on the lessons learned and the need for support to awareness raising activities by the WHO regional office. A report on this group session will be submitted to the WHO Regional Office. HEAL also participated in the meetings of the Working Group on Climate Change and Health (HIC) which convened during the days of the workshop.

During the workshop a progress report was given on the joint WHO European Region and German Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). This pilot project in seven central European and central Asian countries on climate change adaptation presented the progress made in the project countries (Albania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan). Projects in these countries ranged from heat wave early warning schemes, water and food security improvements, infectious disease monitoring and renewable energy as well as energy efficiency as a means to improve energy security in hospitals.

Furthermore, the European Commission presented its new information sharing platform Climate-ADAPT through which case studies can be accessed, where the legal framework of individual countries is summarised and where tools such as a guide to dealing with uncertainties are made publicly available for climate change adaptation practitioners.

Originally posted on 20 June 2012

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »

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