On June 10, 2016, around 80 participants came together at the French embassy in Berlin to attend the conference “Climate Migration and Health”, co-organized by the Centre Virchow Villermé and the science department of the Embassy.
The aim of the conference was to highlight the links between climate change, the consequences for living conditions and the impact on health and health systems in the countries of origin and in Europe. The impact of climate change related migratory movements on public health were addressed.
The opening speeches were given by His Excellency, the French Ambassador Philippe Etienne and Antoine Flahault, co-director of the Centre Virchow Villermé.
It is undisputed that climate change causes extreme weather events that pose a real threat to populations and contributes to long-term changes in temperature or precipitation that have consequences for the living conditions of people. European countries and health sectors might be affected by heat waves and the spread of vector-borne infectious diseases. The health experts emphasized during the panel discussion that migrants who fled to Germany and France do not pose a threat to the health systems, they rather need continuing efforts to enable them to access to medical and psycho-social treatment.
In general climate-induced migration takes place mainly within countries and also a look back into history shows that extreme weather events have resulted only sporadically in significant migratory movements. Women are, as examples of areas in Sub-Sahara show, the most vulnerable and the most affected group. Programs and offers of help from non-profit and governmental organizations were presented.
In the field of research as well as in the media, the issues of climate change, migration and health are rarely linked. The Centre Virchow Villermé wants to encourage interdisciplinarity with MOOCs on climate change and health.