International research project to improve knowledge on climate change and health impacts

Climate change is according to the WHO the greatest threat to human health in the 21st century. By bringing together leaders in climate change and health research, this international project will contribute with knowledge and policy advice on climate change and health impacts.

Climate change is already affecting public health, both directly and indirectly. In order to provide evidence-based policy advice for mitigating the impacts of climate change on human health, more collaboration between climate change and health researchers is needed."

Kristin Aunan, Senior Researcher at CICERO Center for International Climate Research

Aunan is project coordinator of the new EU funded project 'Enhancing Belmont Research Action to support EU policy making on climate change and health (ENBEL)'.

"The indirect and long-term health effects of climate change are not commonly known, such as the effects of increasing temperatures and air pollution" says Aunan.

The key thematic focus in the project is on environmental and occupational heat, air pollution (including from wildfires) and climate-sensitive infectious diseases, with specific attention given to high-risk groups and populations.

"Some groups are particularly vulnerable or exposed to the negative effects of climate change. Identifying targeted measures towards these groups is part of the scope of the project", says Aunan. Heat stress and maternity health in Africa, occupational heat in industrial agriculture in Latin-America and extreme weather-related diarrheal disease risks in the Asia Pacific region are example of projects building the knowledge base in ENBEL.

"ENBEL brings together a consortium of researchers whose work generates actionable knowledge on how climate change-health risks will develop under global warming, what the social costs are as well as cost-efficient and equitable mitigation and adaptation strategies", says Aunan.

ENBEL aims to support EU, international and national policy making with the aim of shaping low-carbon economies and build climate resilience.

ENBEL will coordinate a network of major international health and climate research projects under the Belmont Forum's Collaborative Research Action (CRA) on Climate, Environment and Health (CEH), EU-funded and relevant nationally funded projects.

The project consortium is multidisciplinary and includes 17 partners from 11 European countries as well as from Botswana, Kenya, and South Africa. Together the partners have competencies in medicine, epidemiology, public health, climate and air quality modeling, health impact assessment and economics. Specialists in science and policy communication and stakeholder engagement are also included.

ENBEL is funded by the EU's Horizon 2020 program and runs from November 2020 until October 2023.

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