COP21 and health

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HEAL at the Paris UN climate change negotiations COP21 for health

The health community welcomes the agreement of COP21 as a solid stepping stone for future action. HEAL worked hard to bring the health concerns to the climate debate, especially to ensure that every policy, investment or intervention to cope with climate change are those with significant health co-benefits.

Official HEAL delegation arrive at the COP21 venue in Paris!

From 30 November to 11 December 2015, Heads of State, Parliamentarians and civil society came together in Paris for a historic round of negotiations to forge a global climate agreement, vital to both protecting and promoting human health and sustaining ecosystems.

The Paris agreement signed on Saturday 12 December 2015 is binding and commits signatories to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. The more ambitious 1.5 degrees Celsius goal is also named as a serious aspiration. The agreement includes a commitment to a long-term goal to bring emissions down to zero and a regular review of national commitments every five years to check progress. This review mechanism, which will start in 2018, is vital if the 2-degree target is to be reached.

- HEAL Press Reaction to the Paris Agreement

- HEAL’s message to climate negotiators

- Read HEAL’s Letter to the Editor - ’How to deliver the most important public healthy treaty of the Century’

HEAL activities at COP21

The health community was more visible in Paris than at any previous COP event. During various activities taking place in Paris, the official HEAL delegation, including medical professionals from Turkey, Germany, Serbia, France, Romania, Sweden and Poland, amplified the voice of medical and health professionals, working closely with medical associations around the world and the WHO. Learn more about the HEAL delegation here

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From left to right: Kayihan Pala, Turkish Medical Association, Tadeusz Zielonka, Polish Society of Lung Disease, Sir Andy Haines, LSHTM, Ivonne Leenen, Weronika Piestrzynska Lukasz Adamkiewicz, Diana Smith and Genon Jensen, HEAL, Peter van den Hazel, HEAL President and INCHES, Benoit Briault, Generations Cobayes. Bayazit Ilhan, Turkish Medical Association. From left to right (bottom): Stefanie Kolb, GHUP, Anne Stauffer, Julia Huscher, HEAL, Marija Jevtic, University of Novi Sad and Institute of Public Health of Vojvodina, and Lucy Mathieson, HEAL

Health professionals in action for Healthy Energy and Climate, 4 December, Paris

On 4 December, HEAL jointly organised a high-profile meeting with the French medical association (CNOM) in collaboration with the World Medical Association (WMA) and the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA). This event was a great success with positive feedback from participants, paving the way for future collaboration.

- Press release - English - French - Spanish - Turkish
- Youtube video available here
- Photo album available here
- Storify of tweets
- Programme - English - French
- Biographies of speakers available here

Global Climate and Health Summit, Paris, 5 December 2015

On Saturday 5 December, HEAL acted as the local implementing partner of the Global Climate and Health Summit, organised by the Global Climate and Health Alliance (GCHA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). A global medical consensus for urgent action was presented in the form of declarations representing over 1,700 health organisations, over 8000 hospitals, and 13 million doctors, nurses and health professionals in every part of the health sector and in every continent.

- Press release available here
- Photo album available here
- Report: Health and Climate at COP21 and beyond
- Calls to action available from the Our Climate Our Health campaign

New Prescription for Global Health, HEAL’s Executive Director Genon Jensen on Green TV for COP21 Daily News

Health central to climate change action, Official UNFCCC COP21 side event, 9 December 2015

High-level experts and advocates called for strong, effective action on climate change to protect humanity and health for this and future generations at an official COP21 side event on 9 December. The event was organised by the Principality of Monaco, HEAL, WHO Regional Office for Europe and the European Working Group on Health in climate change (HIC).

- WHO Press release ‘Health is central to climate change action’
- WHO Press briefing available to watch here
- Programme

From left to right: Gina Radford, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Zsuzsanna Jakab, Regional Director for Europe, World Health Organization, and Genon Jensen, Executive Director of the Health and Environment Alliance preparing for the WHO press conference on: A strong climate agreement will save millions of lives in Europe and globally

Opening speeches came from HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Mme Ségolène Neuville, Secrétaire d’État, Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Women’s Rights, France and Zsuzsanna Jakab, Regional Director for Europe, WHO. A successful press conference took place prior to the event (above photo).

HEAL’s communication and outreach during COP21

The HEAL delegation was highly active in spreading the health message during COP21 be it related to the official negotiations or events taking place elsewhere in Paris.

Social media

HEAL actively engaged via social media channels, live tweeting from events, sharing news from the negotiations and sharing key messages from HEAL’s delegations and partners. Many health and environment NGO’s, medical professionals and doctors from all over the world joined together in using the hashtag #ClimateHealth to maximise impact around the importance of health in the climate debate. Thanks to these great efforts, the hashtag trended particularly fast during HEAL’s event on Friday 4 December. During the Global Climate and Health Summit on 5 December, the hashtag even reached to number 33 in the UK trending charts!

You take a look at our tweets @HealthandEnv and check out our Facebook page

Publications at COP21

HEAL’s event on 4 December was included in the December newsletter by co-organised Conseil National de l’Ordre des Médecins (CNOM)available here in French

On 7 December, HEAL appeared in the special Outreach magazine edition on climate and health by the Stakeholder Forum. The article by HEAL’s Executive Director Genon Jensen is entitled Why health concerns should prompt an ambitious Paris package. Outreach is one of the most widely read magazines at the negotiations.

Press coverage

- COP21 : l’Ordre appelle les médecins à s’impliquer, Le Quotidien du Medecin
- New Prescription for Global Health, HEAL’s Executive Director Genon Jensen on Green TV for COP21 Daily News
- Svetski samit o uticaju klimatskih promena na zdravlje (World Summit on the impacts of climate change on health), Nedeljnk (Serbian press)
- COP 21: la santé cherche sa place, Journal de l’environnement
- Svensk läkare på klimatmötet – en reseberättelse från COP 21 i Paris (Swedish doctors at the climate summit), Lakartidningen.Se, 14 December 2015
- Health central to climate change action, official COP21 side event by Monaco, HEAL and WHO, IISD, 9 December 2015

Further resources and useful information

- HEAL on the road to COP21 – Webinar series and HEAL materials
- HEAL’s work on climate and energy
- HEAL is a partner in ’Our Climate, Our Health’, a global campaign by GCHA of which HEAL is a member.
- HEAL is a partner of theGlobal Climate and Health Alliance and the Healthy Energy Initiative, and an accredited civil society stakeholder in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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 »

Contact us

Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)
28 Boulevard Charlemagne
B1000 Brussels, Belgium
Phone: +32 2 234 3640
Fax: +32 2 234 3649
Press: Elke Zander

Direct telephone numbers: HEAL team page.

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