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Zero regrets: scaling up action on climate change mitigation and adaptation for health in the WHO European Region (2nd ed.)


The imperative to protect and improve the health of current and future generations is one of the strongest arguments for action on climate change and sustainable development. Without significant actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change there will be substantial increases in preventable morbidity and mortality and adverse impacts on the quality of life over the next decades.

The Working Group on Health in Climate Change (HIC), established under the European Environment and Health Process, aims to articulate and consolidate an action-oriented position on health and climate change for the WHO European Region. The paper emphasizes the importance of taking proactive measures by the Member States in the WHO European Region to address climate change and its impact on human health, without incurring regrets in the future for missed opportunities. Besides encouraging implementation of strategies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it also encourages to enhance resilience and preparedness in health-care systems, promoting sustainable and healthy communities. 

The HIC paper is aimed at policy-makers, in the health sector and many other sectors that influence health, and civil society representatives – with the intent to raise awareness about the links between health and climate change, as well as the policy options that can maximize the benefits for health and the environment. It further aims to equip policy-makers with evidence and messages to support active engagement in national preparatory consultations for negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process, and it indicates areas for action and collaboration across sectoral boundaries and between social actors. The paper serves as a backdrop and to support uptake and implementation of the climate change and health-related commitments put forward by Member States at the Seventh Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in Budapest, Hungary, on 5–7 July 2023, and the health messaging during upcoming engagements on climate change and health.



Reference information

WHO Regional Office for Europe

Published in Climate-ADAPT Dec 21 2021   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Dec 12 2023

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