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HEAL participates in Paris events on climate and health

Six months ahead of COP21, HEAL is actively involved in several conferences on health and climate change taking place in and around the city.

HEAL has been advocating consistently for a greater role for health considerations in the climate debate, pointing out not only the potentially disastrous impacts climate change can have on public health, but also the significant health co-benefits that can be gained through climate mitigation actions. A new series of events in and around Paris contribute to building momentum towards the international climate negotiations COP21 later this year.

Most recently, HEAL’s Deputy Director Anne Stauffer took part in a session on climate and health at the 10th edition of the Global Conference, which focused on actions towards a more sustainable future. Anne was joined on the panel by Dr Hans Herren, CEO of the Millennium Institute, and Arnaud Fontanet, Director of the Institut Pasteur’s Centre for Global Health.

On 8 July, Anne participated at a side event “Can we maintain and improve human health without fighting climate change?” of the UNESCO conference Our Common Future under Climate Change. This conference focused on scientific developments, bringing together 2,000 scientists to explore solutions to climate change. Health impacts, responses, and co-benefits are on the agenda at several sessions throughout the conference.

“The recent Lancet findings on climate and health underline the urgency to act to tackle climate change”, said Anne Stauffer at the conference. “Over the past months, we have seen more and more health and medical organisations become involved in climate and energy debates. They add their voice to the growing momentum for an ambitious, legally binding and fair Paris agreement to lead the world on the decarbonisation path.”

Last month, the French Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Women’s Rights kick started the series of events on with an event entitled Climate, Health, Disparities: Solutions?. The event took stock of the research on the linkages between the environment, public health and social cohesion, before turning to the health benefits of mitigating and adapting to climate change. Roundtables focused on the impact of climate change on health systems and the role of health professionals in the negotiations for a climate agreement to be signed in Paris.

HEAL’s Executive Director Génon K. Jensen spoke on a panel session looking at climate, health and economic data in view of the COP21 and the post 2015 UN’s agenda.

“The opportunity to improve human health and greater health engagement should be at the centre of efforts to mitigate climate change,” said Ms Jensen in advance of the conference. “Health Ministries have a unique opportunity to push health to the centre of discussions at COP21. Health benefits from climate action should become a much more prominent argument for an ambitious climate agreement.”

A strong plea for climate action emerged from the conference, with all participants underlining the significant health benefits that could be achieved through ambitious mitigation. “Let us make Paris the place where we will sign the most important global health agreement of our century,” said Maria Neira, Director of the WHO’s Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health: “In Paris, climate negotiators will become temporary health ministers.”

Keep up to date with HEAL’s work towards COP21

  • In the run-up to the COP21 negotiations in Paris this December, HEAL is organising a series of webinars entitled “COP21: Perspectives on how climate action can benefit health”. More information available here
  • HEAL recently launched a new French-language listserve on “Climat et Santé”, which aims to provide a platform for exchange of information on climate and health issues within the francophone health community. You can sign up for the French listserve here.
  • More information on HEAL’s climate and energy work here

If you have any questions or comments please contact Katharina Rettig, HEAL’s Climate and Health outreach coordinator at

Last updated on 13 July 2015

About HEAL

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 »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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