In a pivotal moment in the EU election cycle, with a growing sense of climate urgency, a collaborative session organised by NLO and Wellcome addressed the critical relationship between climate and health. The session featured esteemed panel speakers who provided valuable insights into this pressing issue:

  • Natasha Azzopardi-Muscat, Director, Division of Country Health Policies and Systems, WHO Regional Office for Europe
  • Elina Bardram, Director for Adaptation & Resilience, Communication, and Civil Society Relations, DG CLIMA
  • Freek Spinnewijn, Director, FEANTSA
  • Catherine Guinard, Europe Lead, Wellcome
  • Milka Sokolović, Director General, European Public Health Alliance
  • Marina Romanello, Executive Director, Lancet Countdown
The session put a spotlight on the profound impact of the climate crisis on marginalised communities, underscoring their heightened vulnerability and reduced resilience. It acknowledged the disproportionate burden that marginalised communities bear due to the adverse consequences of climate change and emphasised the imperative of tangible solutions and innovative approaches for a more equitable future.

Participants engaged in interactive world café discussions during the second half of the session. They explored and reflected on various strategies, including policy recommendations, community-based initiatives, and interventions designed to enhance resilience, adaptation, and mitigation. These discussions encompassed key themes such as Research and Data, Health in All Policies (HiAP), and Adaptation and Best Practices.

The dialogue also explored into how the EU can better prioritise these communities and develop long-term climate plans tailored to their unique needs. Key points of discussion included the pivotal role of data in comprehending and mitigating climate-related health challenges, the essential inclusion of marginalised groups and civil society organisations in research efforts, policy development, and implementation, and the significance of equitable policies and funding to address the dual impact of climate change and existing health disparities.

Furthermore, the session underscored the critical role of Health in All Policies (HiAP) in advocating for holistic approaches to climate and health. It emphasised the importance of considering marginalised communities in policy discussions and addressing the socioeconomic disparities that often exacerbate health inequities. The speakers shared concrete examples of best practices and highlighted the significance of learning from successful advocacy efforts.

As the EU approaches the 2024 elections and a new parliamentary mandate, it is of paramount importance that climate-health takes center stage on the political agenda. Addressing the health challenges posed by climate change, particularly among marginalised communities, should be a primary concern for policymakers.

The overarching theme that emerged was the pressing need for cross-sector collaboration, inclusive policy development, and data-driven decision-making to enhance resilience and reduce vulnerability in the face of climate-related health challenges. These discussions not only underscored the severity of the issue but also paved the way for informed, equitable, and impactful responses aimed at safeguarding the health of all communities.

On behalf of the NLO initiative, we would like to thank EHFG for hosting us. We extend our gratitude to Wellcome for their invaluable collaboration, and heartfelt thanks to MSD Europe for their unwavering support. Together, we’ve ignited meaningful conversations that pave the way for a healthier, more equitable future. Until next time!