Climate Change and Public Health in the Eastern Mediterranean: The Road to an Effective Inter-disciplinary Regional Collaboration

Marina Baldi, Assaf Hochman, Pinhas Alpert, Edoardo Bucchignani, Erika Coppola, Erika Coppola, Nadav Davidovitch, Stefano Materia, Filippo Giorgi, Sebastian Helgert

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

The current outbreak of a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) not only posed a serious global threat to human health, but also clearly demonstrated that public health risks have no national borders. Hence, cooperation between states is essential when dealing with a situation associated with large uncertainties. These knowledge gaps require great scientific efforts to understand the factors influencing the spread of the disease.
In a large number of papers published in the last few months it is clear that there is an urgent call from scientists anxious to improve existing databases and undertake new research initiatives. They should be strengthened through global and regional cooperation, sharing expertise, knowledge and information. This may also be the path to follow in order to ensure public health adaptation to climate change.

This is especially important in a transition, vulnerable zone like Eastern Mediterranean, a “hot spot” for climate change. The actual changes in the region may lead to substantial modifications in the timing and intensity of seasonal health hazards and spread of a new virus. Only results from innovative studies can help in identifying key climate elements influencing the spread of future pandemics and put a halt to the present outburst in the region.

In January 2020, thanks to an initiative of the East Mediterranean Regional Climate Change Adaptation Center (RCCAC), and support from the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), a group of climate, public health and policy scientists from six Mediterranean countries gathered with the purpose to share ideas, hypotheses, existing research results, and discuss possible future cooperation in the region.

This meeting was a milestone, in showing that bringing together scientist from different disciplines and countries with the common scientific focus on undertaking research on the impacts of climate change, and variability on human health is both feasible and desirable. The outcome of the meeting will be presented in terms of urgent themes to be tackled and knowledge gaps identified. The RCCAC, managed jointly by institutions in Israel, Jordan and Palestine in cooperation with research bodies elsewhere in the East Mediterranean, will coordinate the future cooperation of those who attended the workshop and promote research within the region.

Authors
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 4 Aug 2020
EventClimatological, Meteorological and Environmental factors in the COVID-19 pandemic: An international virtual symposium on drivers, predictability and actionable information - An international virtual symposium
Duration: 4 Aug 20206 Aug 2020

Conference

ConferenceClimatological, Meteorological and Environmental factors in the COVID-19 pandemic
Period4/08/206/08/20

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