You are here: Home / Database / Publication and reports / Public health adaptation to climate change in OECD countries
Original page

Publications and Reports

Public health adaptation to climate change in OECD countries (2016)


The study analyses the role of national governance in preparing the health sector to climate change. Included are six European countries: Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourgh, Switzerland and the UK. The authors examine three key dimensions of national-level health adaptation:

  • cross-sectoral collaboration,
  • vertical coordination
  • national health adaptation planning.

Practical examples from the examined national governances are included. A total of 175 climate change adaptation (CCA) initiatives were gathered through systematic web search, self-reporting (by the countries) and content analysis. Excluded were, i.a., iniatives lacking explicit focus on either health or CCA.

Key findings are:

  1. nearly half of the national-level initiatives consider health in general, i. e. do not capitalize on specific health risks, of which …
  2. infectious diseases and heat-related risks receive most focus
  3. local governments, in contrast, do address flood and storm risks but hardly infectious diseases
  4. typically, CCA-efforts at the national level are distributed 2:1 between groundwork (i.e. preparing the ground for CCA) and actual implementation action
  5. national governments are often constrained by conflicting or fragmented institutional arrangements and low political and/or public priorisation
  6. there is no “silver bullet” for CCA governance in the health sector but rather a country-specific proper allocation and coordination of competencies and ressources among sectors, governance levels and adaptation categories.

Reference information

Austin, S.E., Biesbroek, R., Berrang-Ford, L., Ford, J.D., Parker, S. and Fleury, M.D., 2016. Public Health Adaptation to Climate Change in OECD Countries. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health , 13 (9), p.889.


disaster planning, environmental health, governance, health care, heat-wave, infectious diseases, meteorological factors, national adaptation strategy, public health, risk management

Climate impacts

Extreme Temperatures, Storms, Water Scarcity


Sector Policies, Adaptation Plans and Strategies


Disaster Risk Reduction, Health

Geographic characterisation


Document Actions