Protecting Health from Climate Change: A Seven Country Initiative

Submitted by Michael Rastall | published 22nd Oct 2013 | last updated 22nd Dec 2022


This publication presents the results of a seven-country initiative of the WHO Regional Office for Europe aimed to protect health from climate change through addressing adaptation, strengthening health systems and building institutional capacity in Albania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Uzbekistan.

This project is part of the International Climate Initiative (ICI). The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) supports this initiative based on a decision adopted by the German Bundestag. 

Several countries have introduced multisectoral processes to address climate change and health within their implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Such processes are promising when linked to a wider array of health and development themes but there has been a call for scaling up work in countries in an effort to tackle climate change. Creation of resilient communities was identified as a priority area in the WHO Regional Office for Europe’s Health 2020: policy framework and strategy (2012). Within this theme, one of the seven-country initiative's major strengths is the all-society approach to awareness raising, capacity building and intersectoral policy development.

Health systems' potential for adaptation has not yet been fully realized. Most current health systems can deal with existing problems but must be prepared for the challenges of a changing climate. This need for relevant adaptation has been widely recognized at the ministerial conferences on environment and health. Member States of the WHO European Region declared their commitment to act on environmental health, including climate change, at the most recent conference in Parma in 2010.

Albeit a pilot, the seven-country initiative has already provided a wealth of valuable information and policy lessons for the whole WHO European Region. The methodology and tools developed throughout this initiative are based on well-established frameworks and adapted to country-specific needs and requirements. The experiences and the development of good practices are transferable and documented, allowing for use by other countries. 

Download full report here: Protecting health from climate change: a seven-country initiative in the eastern part of the WHO European Region. World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, 2013.