European Launch of the 2021 Lancet Countdown Report and 2021 EU Policy Brief

In the context of the climate negotiations in COP26, the 2021 report of the Lancet Countdown discusses the latest evidence on how the climate emergency is undermining the foundations of good health, as well as detailing the health benefits of a rapid and robust response to the climate emergency.

Over the past years the European Union (EU) has increased its climate ambition by – among others – the ratification of the 2015 Paris Agreement and commitment to the second phase of the Kyoto protocol. Most notably, as the third biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, the EU has pledged in the European Green Deal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. By preventing impacts from climate change on public health as well as utilizing the health co-benefits action Europe has the opportunity to safeguard the health of generations to come.

This event will contextualise the findings of the 2021 Lancet Countdown report for Europe, bringing together leading academics and policymakers with wide-ranging experience and expertise.


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Opening Keynote – Dr. Elena Višnar Malinovská, Head of Unit, DG CLIMA, European Commission

New findings: Confronting the health impacts of climate change – the 2021 report of the Lancet Countdown – Dr. Niheer Dasandi, Fellow School of Government and political Sciences, University of Birmingham, global Lancet Countdown author and co-lead of working group 5 of the Lancet Countdown in Europe

The Lancet Countdown Policy Brief to Europe – Kim van Daalen, Lead author Lancet Countdown Europe policy brief

Panel discussion – Climate Change and Health in Europe

  • Dr. Martin Balzan, Rapporteur on Environmental Health, the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME)
  • Cristina Pricop, Junior Policy Manager for Global Public Health, European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)
  • Dr. Aleksandra Kazmierczak, Expert in environment, human health, and well-being at European Environment Agency (EEA)
  • Dr. Rachel Lowe, Director Lancet Countdown in Europe and Associate Professor & Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  • Dr. Anne Stauffer, Deputy Director, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)
  • Rana Orhan, The Association of Schools of Public Health in The European Region (ASPHER)

Moderated by: Maike Voss, Managing Director German Alliance on Climate Change and Health

Closing remarks – Dr. Rachel Lowe, Director Lancet Countdown in Europe and Associate Professor & Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine



Dr. Elena Višnar Malinovská

Dr. Elena Višnar Malinovská is currently a Head of the climate adaptation unit in DG Climate Action of the European Commission. She has worked for 13 years in the European Commission in different positions. As a policy officer in the Secretariat General, she dealt with environment, energy, mobility and climate policies (2005-2010, 2014-2016). In the Cabinet of Commissioner responsible for environment (2010-2014), she spearheaded the review of the air quality legislation as well as oversaw the infringements policy in the environment field. During the Slovak Presidency (2016), she acted as a spokesperson. She holds a law degree from the Comenius and Thyrnaviens universities (“JUDr.”)  in Slovakia and diplomas from European studies (SciencePo in Paris, College of Europe in Poland). An enthusiast cyclist (female winner of VéloMai competition in the Commission in 2019), runner, mother of three hockey players and a scout leader.


Dr. Niheer Dasandi

Dr Niheer Dasandi is Associate Professor in Politics and Development in the School of Government, University of Birmingham. His research broadly looks at the politics of sustainable development and human rights, and has been published in leading academic journals including The Lancet, The Lancet Planetary Health, British Journal of Political Science, and International Studies Quarterly. He is also the author of the book, Is Democracy Failing? (Thames & Hudson, 2018). He has been part of the Lancet Countdown since 2016, and he is the co-lead of the politics and governance working group for the Lancet Countdown in Europe. Prior to completing a doctorate in political science at University College London, Niheer worked with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for several years.


Kim van Daalen

Kim van Daalen is a Gates Scholar currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Cambridge, where her research focuses on environmental metal pollution. She holds a BSc in biomedical sciences (Summa Cum Laude) combined with an interdisciplinary honors program from Utrecht University and a master’s in Public Health from the University of Cambridge. She did part of a master’s in stem cell biology with an interdisciplinary honors program before moving into Public Health (1/2yrs). Her interest is in environmental epidemiology, climate change and health inequalities. She is currently working part-time for the Lancet Countdown as consultant for Europe and was lead-author on the Policy Brief to the EU.


Dr. Rachel Lowe

Dr. Rachel Lowe is an Associate Professor and Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She leads a group of researchers working between the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases and the Centre on Climate Change & Planetary Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She obtained a PhD in Mathematics at the University of Exeter (PhD Thesis: Spatio-temporal modelling of climate-sensitive disease risk: towards an early warning system for dengue in Brazil). Alongside her PhD, she was a Network Facilitator for the Leverhulme Trust funded project EUROBRISA: a EURO-BRazilian Initiative for improving South American seasonal forecasts. During the project, she collaborated with climate scientists and public health experts in Brazil, which resulted in her continuing participation in the Brazilian Climate and Health Observatory. She held postdoctoral positions at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, and the Catalan Institute for Climate Sciences (IC3) in Barcelona, Spain, working at the interface of climate prediction science and public health decision-making. She has published high impact research on modelling of climate-sensitive disease risk, with a focus on climate-driven dengue early warning systems in Latin America and the Caribbean and South East Asia. In 2018, she won the International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ISNTD) Water Award for Research, in recognition of her research on the linkages between hydrometeorological extremes and dengue outbreaks and the multi-sectoral relevance for policy and practice. She has recently become the Executive Director of the Lancet Countdown in Europe. In 2022 she will join the Barcelona Supercomputing Center as an ICREA Research Professor.


Dr. Martin Balzan

Dr Martin Balzan is a consultant respiratory physician at Mater Dei Hospital in Malta. He is currently the rapporteur for environmental health and climate change for the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) and the president of the Medical Association of Malta. He is also the president of Pneumology Section at the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS) since 2010 and was the secretary of the European Board of Accreditation in Pulmonology from 2010 to 2015. In addition, Dr Balzan is a senior lecturer at the University of Malta, with a research interest in air quality and the epidemiology of respiratory diseases, this being the main area of his scientific publications. He was a project leader of an EU funded project “Respira” on air quality and respiratory disease in Malta and Sicily from 2012-2015.


Cristina Pricop

Cristina is a Junior Policy Manager for Global Public Health, and her responsibilities bring together two challenges that need to be addressed at the European level: air pollution and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Her work on clean air focuses on the health and climate co-benefits of a just transition to clean heating and cooking. Cristina holds a master’s degree in Political Science from the Central European University in Hungary and a bachelor’s in Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick in the UK. Before joining EPHA, she was based in Bucharest, where she gained experience in the civil society sector and with the European Commission Representation in Romania.  Cristina speaks English, French and Romanian.


Anne Stauffer

Anne Stauffer leads HEAL’s activities on climate change, energy and air quality and provides strategic input for HEAL’s organizational development, advocacy and engagement of stakeholders across the European region. She has 10+ years of working on environmental health issues and has led HEAL’s members and partners advocacy on key policy files including the EU’s Environmental Action Programme (7 EAP), the EU clean air standards and National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NEC – on air quality) and EU-Parliament climate resolutions. Anne has been a member of the DG Environment Stakeholder expert group on EU air policy, the DG SANCO Indoor air quality expert group and contributed to various EU research projects such as ESCAPE, SINPHONIE, APHEKOM, ERA-ENVHEALTH.


Dr. Aleksandra Kazmierczak

Dr. Aleksandra Kazmierczak coordinates the European Climate and Health Observatory at the European Environment Agency (EEA). She has previously focused on urban adaptation to climate change and broader environmental health inequalities. Before joining EEA in 2017, dr. Kazmierczak carried out research work in the field of human geography and spatial planning at University of Manchester and Cardiff University, UK, focusing on assessing social vulnerability to climate change and the role of green infrastructure for human health and well-being.


Rana Orhan

Rana Orhan focuses on preparing the climate and health workforce at The Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER). They teach at the under- and postgraduate programmes in European public health at Maastricht University. They also work as project worker at both euPrevent, an organisation focusing on cross-border collaborations in public health, and the public health service of South Limburg, the Netherlands. Rana Orhan has had experience in youth engagement at several NGOs since starting as a student in Medicine and co-founded their own advocacy group, Jongeren voor Gezondheid (Youth for Health) to contribute to public health at the local level. They hold MPH MSc from the European Master in Public Health (University of Sheffield, Maastricht University and EHESP French School of Public Health).


Maike Voss

Maike Voss (MPH) is managing director for evidence-based policy-making at the German Alliance on Climate Change and Health (KLUG). Prior, she was the head of the Global Health Governance Research Team at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP). Her research focuses on planetary and global health governance and sustainable development as well as the interdependencies between health and security policy. In 2018, she got appointed to the Lancet Commission for Synergies between Health Security, Universal Health Coverage and Health Promotion. Additionally, Maike is a steering committee member of the German Global Health Research Alliance, teaches at the University of Bielefeld, University of Bremen and at Charité Berlin and is a freelance moderator. Before joining KLUG and SWP she worked as a research associate at the Institute for Public Health and Nursing Research at University Bremen.