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The Western Balkans is one of the regions in Europe heavily affected by air pollution and climate change, leading to an unacceptably high health burden. While awareness on the need for a greener and healthier future is growing, progress is still lacking.  Decision-makers in the region are expected to take steps towards a more ambitious transition from pollution and carbon-intensive activities in the energy sector ( coal power plants), in domestic heating (wood, coal fired stoves) and transport (older vehicles).

From a health perspective, greening the Western Balkans and advancing on climate mitigation is urgent, and will bring many benefits, including reduced rates of cancer, heart and lung disease, as well as improvements for children’s healthy development. 

The Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, envisaged by the European Green Deal, and the connected Economic and Investment Plan should guide this region through the transition to reach the final destination – to be climate neutral by 2050, and have an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Such an agenda has become ever more important as Europe and the region recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the new webinar series in May, June and July 2021, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) invites participants from the health sector, non-governmental organisations and anyone concerned to take a closer look at the interlinkages between health, environment and climate.

With a range of distinguished speakers from the region and beyond, we aim to share some recent data and studies on how pollution and climate change affect health, discuss policy opportunities for strengthening disease prevention through a green agenda, and showcase how health engagement can make a difference.

Participation is free. 

Three webinars are planned:

  1. Health impacts of air pollution: an introduction to the issue and challenges in the Western Balkans; Wednesday, 26 May, 2pm CEST, with distinguished speakers Prof. Michal Krzyzanowski, Imperial College London, Dr. Claudio Belis, from Joint Research Center, MD PhD Branislava Matić, Institute of Public Health of Serbia “Dr Milan Jovanović Batut”.
    Watch the recording in English:

    Watch the recording in Serbian:
  2. Climate Change and Health in the Western Balkan region; Tuesday 29 June, 2pm CEST, with PhD Frances MacGuire, The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, MSc Danijela Božanić, Climate Change Expert, MD PhD Marija Jevtić, University of Novi Sad, Medical Faculty.

    Watch the recording in English:


    Watch the recording in Serbian:
     
  3. Health perspectives of the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans: green investments for a healthier future; Tuesday, 06 July 2021 , 2 pm CEST, with Guillemette Vachey, Environment and climate expert, European Commission, DG Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement negotiations; Dorota Jarosinska, Programme Manager, Living and Working Environments, WHO European Centre for Environment and Health, WHO Regional Office for Europe; and Vijoleta Gordeljevic, Health and Climate Change Coordinator, HEAL.
    Watch the recording in English:

    Watch the recording in Serbian:

For further information, please contact Srdjan Kukolj srdjan@env-health.org