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Publications and Reports

Priorities for protecting health from climate change in the WHO European Region: recent regional activities


Evidence of the impact of climate change on health is growing. Health systems need to be prepared and gradually adapt to the effects of climate change, including extreme weather events.

Fossil fuel combustion as the driver of climate change poses a tremendous burden of disease. In turn, cutting greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors will achieve health co-benefits. If all countries meet the Paris Agreement by 2030, the annual number of avoidable premature deaths could total 138,000 across the entire European Region of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Several international frameworks promote a stronger commitment by countries to implementing the necessary adaptations in the health sector and to addressing health considerations in adaptation measures in other sectors. The WHO has a mandate from its member states to identify solutions and help prevent or reduce health impacts, including those from climate change.

National governments are continuing to establish public health adaptation measures, which provide a rationale for and trigger action on climate change by the health community. Effective national responses to climate risks require strategic analyses of current and anticipated threats. Health professionals need to play a proactive role in promoting health arguments and evidence in the formulation of national climate change adaptation and mitigation responses. To this end, country capacities need to be further strengthened to identify and address local health risks posed by climate change and to develop, implement and evaluate health-focused interventions through integrated approaches. Building climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable health care facilities is an essential pillar of health sector leadership to address climate change.

Reference information

WHO Regional Office for Europe

Published in Climate-ADAPT Feb 03 2021   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Dec 12 2023

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