While the world struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic, an upcoming health crisis, induced by the climate emergency, requires our even more urgent attention. No country – much more so for poor than rich countries – is immune from the health impacts of climate change. People around the world face increasing extremes of heat, food and water insecurity, and changing patterns of infectious and chronic diseases. Unless urgent action is taken, the health impacts of the climate emergency will bring further disruption, threaten lives and livelihoods and compromise the comprehensive health systems we depend on.
The COVID-19 pandemic and climate emergency represent converging crises. At the same time, climate emergency and epidemiological changes share common drivers. It is imperative that these emergencies are addressed in a comprehensive matter, while acknowledging public health needs, inequalities and historic injustices.
Be-cause health, a Belgian platform for international health, will organise its annual international conference on 23-24th November 2021 in Brussels and online.
This year’s conference will look at the pathways and interrelations through which the climate emergency may impact health outcomes. The annual international conference brings together Belgian and international development and health professionals, NGOs and academic researchers.
We invite interested stakeholders to submit (scientific) abstracts on recent (research) findings or cases that show how
- Be-cause health member organisations and their partners are impacted by the climate emergency and how they address this in their health activities and programmes (day 1); and
- transformation could be enabled given that an urgent shift to a circular and socially just economic system, that respects the planetary boundaries, is required (day 2).
Deadline to submit is 31 July 2021 – 5pm Brussels time.
Depending on the COVID-19 regulations that apply at the time of the conference, speakers can join the conference physically or online.
COVID-19 made us inventive in looking for ways to meet each other. For a network as Be-cause health hybrid forms of conferences gives great opportunities to engage more participation from our partners in low- and middle-income countries and lower carbon emissions.
Thus, we are experimenting with this hybrid format as a pilot for future conferences. Given the urgent need to halt the climate emergency we therefore ask speakers to limit air travel to the absolute minimum.
Use this submission form for each separate submission, and choose one of the following topics (not exhaustive):
DAY 1 – Findings or cases that show how Be-cause health member organisations and their partners are impacted by the climate emergency and how they address this in their health activities and programmes
Topic 1: Food security and undernutrition
- food production and access to food: drought, changing rainfall patterns, malnutrition and famine distribution (history and geography and the role of (geo)politics);
- NCDs linked to food insecurity and undernutrition;
Topic 2: Climate-sensitive diseases
- vector behaviour and distribution (malaria and dengue,…);
- waterborne diseases ((coastal) cholera, …);
- new diseases (infectious (Ebola, COVID,…), NCDs linked to pollution, …);
Topic 3: Health and heat
- vulnerability to the extremes of heat;
- exposure of vulnerable populations to heatwaves;
- heat-related mortality;
- change in labour capacity;
Topic 4: One Health
- livestock changes;
- bush meat consumption;
- collaborative management of human and animal health;
- other ….
Topic 5: People movement: refugees, displacement and rising sea levels, economic migration, tourism
- linked to violence: local, regional, international conflict, management of natural resources (water, land, forest,…), politics and management;
- linked to climate related ‘Natural’ catastrophes (extreme weather events): wildfires, hurricanes, floods, droughts;
- impact of not climate related ‘Natural’ catastrophes: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis,…;
- impact of tourism on climate change and risks for health;
- other …
Topic 6: Demographic pressure
Topic 7: Marginalised and vulnerable populations
- migrants, indigenous groups, persons with disabilities, …
- or intersectionality between gender, age and disability
- other …
Topic 8: Decolonisation
Any other topic of relevance
DAY 2 – Findings or cases that show how transformation could be enabled given that an urgent shift to a circular and socially just economic system, that respects the planetary boundaries, is required.
Topic 9: Focus on transformation: health systems, equity and remaining within planetary boundaries
- where do we want to transform?
- indigenous knowledge as inspiration
- participation of the young generation
Topic 10: Indigenous communities and local resilience and alternative strategies to the climate emergency
Topic 11: How to raise awareness and be activist as a health actor?
What is our responsibility? To what extent should health actors be involved in activism? What does the right to health mean for our struggle against the climate emergency? What is the role of health professionals and services in the fight against global warming?
Topic 12: How can we manage information and infodemics?
A complex and sensitive balancing act between Youth for climate, Extinction rebellion on the one hand and denial and conspiracy theories on the other.
Topic 13: How to deal with the challenges? Emergency preparation, water supply, access to health care, …
- Food security and under-nutrition
- Climate-sensitive infectious diseases
- Health and heat
- One Health
- People movement
- Demographic pressure
- Marginalised and vulnerable populations
- Impact on health systems
- Other …
Any other topic of relevance