News
30 November 2022
Europe
- Air Quality

The European Climate and Health Observatory is a partnership between the European Commission, the European Environment Agency (EEA) and several other organisations. It is tasked with addressing the climate change impacts on health, as part of the EU’s Climate Adaptation Strategy. The Observatory sets out to become the authoritative source of actionable knowledge around climate change risks to health, and a reference for allergy and airways disease patients in Europe.

Climate change impacts our airways and immune system

Addressing the health impacts caused by climate change is vital to reduce the suffering of those living with chronic disease, including allergy, asthma and COPD patients. The increasing number of climate change-induced hazards includes catastrophic floods, heatwaves and dryness over Europe, as well as extended pollen seasons. This has been proven to be linked to worsening disease symptoms, daily life limitations, and higher medicine intake for patients, as well as increased hospitalisations.

A “observer” strategy on climate change and health

To guide its work, the Observatory published its longer-term strategic objectives ‘towards climate-prepared health systems and resilient populations in Europe by 2030’.

Within the strategy, five objectives were defined with a vision on how to reach each objective by 2030:

  • Observatory users can monitor key climate-related health risks, impacts and adaptive responses through robust indicators
  • National and sub-national health policies and systems can integrate adaptation more systematically and consistently
  • Public authorities have greater capacity to anticipate and prevent climate related threats to health in a timely manner
  • The health community in Europe is climate-literate and better involved in adaptation decision-making
  • Evidence-based efficient, effective and inclusive adaptation solutions and public health and healthcare interventions are widely known

EFA welcomes these five long-term strategic objectives. Within these, EFA also urges that the Observatory considers the long and short-term effects of climate change on allergy and respiratory health to strengthen national and European emergency alert systems. There must also be greater investment in research studies examining the link between climate change and environmental health-diseases, to identify clear and effective climate adaptation policies to protect the health of vulnerable populations. By 2030, there must be clear climate adaptation results to lessen the health burden it creates.

You can read the European Climate and Health Observatory long-term strategy here.