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Launch Event
Keeping healthy in a changing climate

Thursday, 04 March 2021

Climate change is already having an impact on people’s health and health systems, directly and indirectly. Extreme weather events; growing heat stress; wildfires, floods and landslides; food and water safety and security threats; and the emergence and spread of infectious diseases, are expected to generate serious health risks and amplify existing health problems. To understand, anticipate and minimize the health threats caused by climate change, the European Commission and the European Environment Agency, together with other key players in the field, have launched the European Climate and Health Observatory. The Observatory is one of the first concrete deliverables of the European Commission’s new Adaptation Strategy, which was published on 24 February.

At the event, Director-General for DG for Climate Action Mauro Petriccione, Deputy Director-General of DG for Health and Food Safety Pierre Delsaux and Executive Director of the European Environment Agency Hans Bruyninckx presented and discussed the goals and tools of the European Climate and Health Observatory and the importance to recognise the interlinkages between climate change and health.

The following panel debate among the other partner organisations and user groups of the Observatory explored the value the initiative can provide for different users in the future. The speakers discussed, among other issues, the Observatory’s role in (i) helping to further operationalise climate data gathered by Copernicus services; (ii) raising awareness about the emergence and spread of infectious diseases; (iii) supporting the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and member states in addressing food safety concerns; (iv) collaborating with other organisations and NGOs and improving public knowledge and action at local level; and (v) improving data and indicators to better understand the linkages between climate change and health. The link between climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic was also raised and the panellists highlighted that holistically approaching health and climate is vital and that the Observatory is a step in the right direction.

The event was chaired by Annika Hedberg, Head of the EPC Sustainable Prosperity for Europe Programme.

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