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Environ Health ; 21(1): 37, 2022 03 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1793937


Climate change, urbanisation, chemical pollution and disruption of ecosystems, including biodiversity loss, affect our health and wellbeing. Research is crucial to be able to respond to the current and future challenges that are often complex and interconnected by nature. The HERA Agenda, summarised in this commentary, identifies six thematic research goals in the environment, climate and health fields. These include research to 1) reduce the effects of climate change and biodiversity loss on health and environment, 2) promote healthy lives in cities and communities, 3) eliminate harmful chemical exposures, 4) improve health impact assessment and implementation research, 5) develop infrastructures, technologies and human resources and 6) promote research on transformational change towards sustainability. Numerous specific recommendations for research topics, i.e., specific research goals, are presented under each major research goal. Several methods were used to define the priorities, including web-based surveys targeting researchers and stakeholder groups as well as a series of online and face-to-face workshops, involving hundreds of researchers and other stakeholders. The results call for an unprecedented effort to support a better understanding of the causes, interlinkages and impacts of environmental stressors on health and the environment. This will require breakdown of silos within policies, research, actors as well as in our institutional arrangements in order to enable more holistic approaches and solutions to emerge. The HERA project has developed a unique and exciting opportunity in Europe to consensuate priorities in research and strengthen research that has direct societal impact.

Climate Change , Ecosystem , Cities , Europe , Humans , Urbanization
Environ Int ; 146: 106272, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-943095


The outbreak of COVID-19 raised numerous questions on the interactions between the occurrence of new infections, the environment, climate and health. The European Union requested the H2020 HERA project which aims at setting priorities in research on environment, climate and health, to identify relevant research needs regarding Covid-19. The emergence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 appears to be related to urbanization, habitat destruction, live animal trade, intensive livestock farming and global travel. The contribution of climate and air pollution requires additional studies. Importantly, the severity of COVID-19 depends on the interactions between the viral infection, ageing and chronic diseases such as metabolic, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and obesity which are themselves influenced by environmental stressors. The mechanisms of these interactions deserve additional scrutiny. Both the pandemic and the social response to the disease have elicited an array of behavioural and societal changes that may remain long after the pandemic and that may have long term health effects including on mental health. Recovery plans are currently being discussed or implemented and the environmental and health impacts of those plans are not clearly foreseen. Clearly, COVID-19 will have a long-lasting impact on the environmental health field and will open new research perspectives and policy needs.

Air Pollution , COVID-19 , Animals , Climate , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2