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Heat Extremes, Public Health Impacts, and Adaptation Policy in Germany (2020)


In order to better prevent the adverse health impacts of hotter weather and extreme heat events, Heat Health Warning Systems (HHWS) have been established internationally and more than 20 WHO European Member States have developed national or subnational Heat Health Action Plans (HHAP) until 2020.

Governmental recommendations for a HHAP were developed to serve state and local authorities responsible for the implementation in Germany. The 2017 HHAP recommendations and respective adaptation measures to prevent people from extreme heat events are well known and have been discussed at German state parliaments, but are not yet implemented.

Thus, it is of importance to follow-up and learn from the first national study on the effectiveness and efficacy of the 2017 HHAP recommendations, which is being conducted from 2019 and 2022. Regional and local agencies must have authority to evaluate the applicability and efficacy of HHAP operation and proposed intervention measures. In addition, they must be allowed to develop, implement, and evaluate pilot strategies and measures that can fit better for their local communities, and the measures that are found to be successful can be integrated in the national HHAP strategy.

Public health systems and services need to be better prepared to improve resilience to the effects of extreme heat events in Germany. The upcoming preparation of the Adaptation Action Plan III (APA III, 2021–2025) can be seen as an opportunity. The intersectoral Working Group on Public Health Adaptation to Climate Change, as part of it, will continuously network, contact and exchange with partners at Federal State governments and local administrations to gain regular information about the progress and implementation of HHAP in general and about enduring heat-related health adaptation measures specifically.


Reference information

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

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