Launching the Lancet Countdown in Europe

The Lancet Countdown in Europe is a transdisciplinary research collaboration for monitoring progress on health and climate change in Europe. With the wealth of data and academic expertise available in Europe, the collaboration will develop high-resolution, region-specific indicators to identify and address the main challenges and opportunities of Europe’s response to climate change for health.

The indicators produced by the collaboration will provide information to health and climate policy decision making and will also contribute to the European Observatory on Climate and Health.

Join us at the launch of this initiative before the pre-COP as the first Lancet Countdown in Europe publication is published in the Lancet Public Health.

Agenda (times in BST)

Opening remarks 14:00

Dr. Maria Neira, Director, Environment, Climate Change and Health, World Health Organisation

Sustainability in European Cities 14:05

Pekka Timonen, Mayor of Lahti, Finland

Dr. Dagur Bergþóruson Eggertsson, Mayor Reykjavik, Iceland

Climate change and health in Italy 14:20

Dr. Silvio Brusaferro, President Instituto Superiore de Sanità

The Lancet Countdown in Europe: the what and why 14:25

Prof. Maria Nilsson, Professor in Public Health Science at Umeå University and chair of the Lancet Countdown in Europe

The Lancet Countdown in Europe: a note on the different working groups

Chaired by: Dr. Rachel Lowe, Associate Professor & Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Executive Director Lancet Countdown in Europe

  • WG1: Exposure, Health Impacts and Vulnerabilities to Climate Change: Prof. Joacim Rocklöv, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
  • WG2: Adaptation, Planning and Resilience for Health: Dr Jan Semenza, Global Lateral Public Health Consulting, Stockholm, Sweden
  • WG3: Mitigation Actions and Health Co-Benefits: Dr. Cathryn Tonne, Barcelona Insistute for Global Health, (ISGlobal), Barcelona, Spain
  • WG4: Economics of Finance of Health and Climate Change: Dr. Paul Drummond, Institute for Sustainable Resources, University College London, London, United Kingdom
  • WG5: Tracking Politics and Governance on Health and Climate: Prof. Slava Jankin, Data Science Lab, Hertie School, Berlin, Germany

14:45 Short break 

Panel discussion – Climate Change and Health in Europe 


  • Elena Višnar Malinovská, Head of Unit, DG CLIMA, European Commission
  • Dr Giulio Gallo, Deputy Head of Unit, Country Knowledge and Scientific Committees (DG SANTE), European Commission
  • Dr Jennifer McIntosh, Project Director, European Children’s Hospitals Organisation
  • Prof Maria Nilsson, Professor in Public Health Science at Umeå University and chair of the Lancet Countdown in Europe
  • Dr Dagur Bergþóruson Eggertsson, Mayor Reykjavik
  • Dr Maria Neira, Director, Environment, Climate Change and Health, World Health Organisation

Moderated by:

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

Closing remarks 

Prof. Maria Nilsson, Professor in Public Health Science at Umeå University and chair of the Lancet Countdown in Europe

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Speaker biographies

Dr. Maria de Neira

Dr. Neira is since 2005, Director of the Department of Public Health and Environment at the World Health Organization (WHO). Between 2002 and 2005, she was Vice Minister of Health and Consumer Affairs in Spain and President of the Spanish Food Safety and Nutrition Agency. She has been working for WHO since 1993, with her first assignment being Coordinator of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control and then being appointed in 1999 as Director of the Department of Control, Prevention and Eradication. Before joining WHO, she obtained extensive field experience working for five years in Africa as Public Health Adviser in the Ministry of Health in Mozambique and in Kigali, Rwanda, where she served as UN Public Health Advisor/Physician for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Previously, Maria acted as Medical Coordinator with Médecins sans Frontières within refugee camps in Salvador and Honduras during the armed conflict.

Dr. Silvio Brusaferro

Dr. Silvio Brusaferro is currently the President of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (National Institute of Health) in Italy. Before this, he was appointed as extraordinary commissionare of the National Institute of Health after the early resignation of President Walter Ricciardi. Silvio is a medical doctor and Italian academic working in the field of hygiene and public health medicine. Between 2010 and 2013 he was a member of the Higher Health Council, Public Health. Full professor of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine since 2006 , he has been director of the Medical Area Department of the University of Udine since 2017 . He was co-founder and coordinator since 2011 of the European Network to Promote Infection Prevention for Patient Safety (EUNETIPS) , a European coordination that monitors the implementation of infection control measures, with particular attention to areas related to healthcare. He is a member of the Global Infection Prevention and Control Network, Infection Prevention and Control Global Unit of the World Health Organization.

Prof. Maria Nilsson

Prof. Maria Nilsson is a professor in public health with the orientation climate change and health at the department of Epidemiology and Global Health, Umeå University, Sweden; a social scientist who holds a PhD in epidemiology and public health sciences. Her main focus is climate change and health, with a specific interest in adaptation and vulnerable populations, health and risk communication and knowledge translation. She was the integrating editor for health in the 2015 “Lancet Commission – Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health” and co-leads the working group on adaptation, planning, and resilience for health in the global “Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change”. She is Editor in chief for Global Health Action, an international journal publishing research in the field of global health, addressing transnational health and policy issues. She was awarded a fellowship from the Swedish Institute for Global Health Transformation (SIGHT), under the auspices of the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences, for global health leadership. Recently, she has also become the chair of the Lancet Countdown in Europe.

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.

Prof. Jan Semenza

Jan C Semenza has served as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1995 when a record-breaking heat wave claimed the lives of more than 700 individuals in Chicago. He led the US CDC response to this event and elucidated the underlying environmental, societal, and behavioural risk factors for heat-related mortality. He was subsequently awarded a Certificate of Commendation by the City of Chicago for this investigation. He also worked internationally on a number of public health issues in Uzbekistan, Sudan, Egypt, Denmark, Brazil, and Haiti. He was a faculty member at UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, Oregon Health and Science University, and at Portland State University where he taught in the Oregon Master Program of Public Health. He led the work on environmental and climatic drivers of infectious disease transmission at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), based in Stockholm, Sweden. Currently, he is associated with the Heidelberg Institute of Global Health, at the University of Heidelberg in Germany and has recently become the co-lead of WG1 and WG2 of the Lancet Countdown in Europe.

Prof. Joacim Rocklöv

Professor Rocklöv is engaged in research in the nexus of global health, global environmental change and infectious disease epidemiology. His lab is focusing on understanding disease etiology, developing predictive models for the purpose of early warning and response systems using AI methods, and estimating future health impacts in relation to climate and environmental change guiding climate action. Joacim Rocklöv was awarded the Institute Pasteur and Prince Albert II of Monaco prize for his research on arboviruses and global environmental change in 2019. He has been contributing to IPCC and WHO assessments, and he is co-leading the second working group of the Lancet countdown. He is engaged in several international research projects and he leads several Swedish funded research projects in this area. Additionally, professor Rocklöv is a recurrent consulted expert for WHO and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). He has recently become the co-lead of WG1 and WG2 of the Lancet Countdown in Europe.

Dr. Cathryn Tonne

Cathryn Tonne, Associate Professor at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, is an environmental epidemiologist focusing on the health effects of air pollution from traffic and household sources. Herresearch has investigated exposure patterns and health effects of air pollution in high- as well as low- and middle-income countries and the health co-benefits of climate change mitigation via air pollution. She led the European Research Council funded Cardiovascular Health effects of Air pollution in Telangana, India (chaiproject.org) and has held several competitive personal fellowships from the US NIH, the UK Economic and Social Research Council, and the Spanish government. She leads the working group focused on mitigation actions and health co-benefits for the European Lancet Countdown for Health and Climate Change and is a member of the Expert Working Group focused on Climate Change and Air Pollution for the WHO Technical Advisory Group on air pollution and health. Tonne trained in Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health and received a Master of Public Health, with a focus on environmental health, from Columbia University.

Paul Drummond

Paul is a Senior Research Fellow in Energy & Climate Policy at the UCL Institute of Sustainable Resources (UCL ISR). Paul’s research focuses on policy and economics for climate change mitigation, energy, and innovation. Paul has been engaged in various large-scale European projects on low-carbon transition pathways, most recently co-ordinating (with Professor Paul Ekins) INNOPATHS (Innovation Pathways, Strategies and Policies for the Low-Carbon Transition in Europe), which examines a range of economic, technical and social options and implications for decarbonisation in Europe. He is also a Senior Researcher on the Economics of Energy Innovation and System Transition (EEIST) project, funded by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), which aims to transform decision-making processes around planning for decarbonisation in Brazil, China, India, the UK and EU. Since 2015, Paul is Co-lead of the Finance & Economics Working Group for the ‘Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change’.

Prof. Slava Jankin

Slava Jankin is Professor of Data Science and Public Policy at the Hertie School. He is the Director of the Hertie School Data Science Lab. His research and teaching is primarily in the field of natural language processing and machine learning. Before joining the Hertie School faculty, he was a Professor of Public Policy and Data Science at University of Essex, holding a joint appointment in the Institute for Analytics and Data Science and Department of Government. At Essex, Slava served as a Chief Scientific Adviser to Essex County Council, focusing on artificial intelligence and data science in public services. He previously worked at University College London and London School of Economics. Slava holds a PhD in Political Science from Trinity College Dublin. He has recently become the co-lead of WG5 of the Lancet Countdown in Europe.

Dr. Giulio Gallo

Dr. Giulio Gallo, Principal Administrator, has been working as a policy analyst for the European Commission Directorate-General for Health for the last 20 years. He is currently the Deputy Head of Unit C-2: Country knowledge and scientific committees. He is currently steering work related to health in other policies and with a particular focus on health impact of environmental and climate change. He provides analytical support for country knowledge on health status and health systems. He also contributes to the development and implementation of the EU health information system through the better coordination of health data collection, analysis, and evidence and reporting. Previously he was responsible for European Union policies on alcohol-related harm and environmental health determinants.  Dr Gallo has spent most of his working career in the fields of food safety and public health. Before joining the European Commission, he was an official in the Italian Ministry of Health.

Elena Višnar Malinovská

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. Dagur Bergþóruson Eggertsson

Dr. Dagur Bergþóruson Eggertsson is an Icelandic politician who is the Mayor of Reykjavik City. He was the vice-chairman of the Social Democratic Alliance from 2009 until 2013. Dagur is formally educated as a physician but also has a master’s degree in Human Rights and International Law from the University of Lund in Sweden. From 2010 – 2014 he was chair of the City Executive Council. In his capacity as a leader for Reykjavík City Dagur has been a keynote speaker at various international conferences and forums.

Dr. Jennifer McIntosh

Jennifer McIntosh, PharmD, MHS, is the Project Director at the European Children’s Hospitals Organisation (ECHO) where she co-leads their work on sustainability and climate-smart healthcare. This work takes a rights-based approach and aims to centre the voices of children and young people. Dr. McIntosh has a broad range of international experience spanning public health, academia, clinical pharmacy, and health policy that helps her bring an intersectional and systems approach to her work. Dr. McIntosh is originally from Alaska, (USA) and earned her Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of California, San Francisco, completed her pharmacy practice residency at the University of Chapel Hill Hospitals, and her Master of Health Science from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Pekka Timonen

Pekka Timonen is the Mayor of Lahti. He was elected in 2018. City of Lahti has 120 000 inhabitants and it is a centre for an urban region of 200 000 people. Lahti is a pioneer of sustainable urban solutions and the European Green Capital 2021.Previously Mr. Timonen was General Secretary at Prime Minister´s Office. Earlier in his career he has been Cultural Director of Helsinki and served in managerial positions in private sector. He is the chairman of the board of the Finnish Event Industries and a board member in various foundations and associations. Timonen holds MA in history.