MoU Signed to Advance Climate Change Mitigation in Catalan Health System

  • 13/06/2024
  • 2 mins reading time
CATALYSE Project kick-off
Photo: CATALYSE Project

The UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change at ESCI-UPF joins forces with the Catalan Institute of Health and ISGlobal on the CATALYSE Project to help mitigate the effects of climate change at the Catalan Health System.

In a significant step towards bolstering efforts to mitigate climate change impacts on public health, the Catalan Institute of Health, along with prominent scientific institutes Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change at ESCI-UPF, have joined forces under the auspices of the Horizon Europe funded project CATALYSE. This collaboration marks a four-year commitment aimed at fortifying the Catalan Health System’s resilience against the effects of climate change.

CATALYSE, a flagship initiative of an international consortium, is dedicated to bridging the gap between knowledge and action to accelerate climate change response and safeguard public health across Europe. This five-year project, spearheaded by ISGlobal and funded by the European Commission under the Horizon Europe programme, has three main lines of action: provide evidence on the effects of climate change on health and how to reduce negative impacts; produce new knowledge to accelerate climate change action in Europe; and help health systems adapt to climate change and reduce their carbon footprints.

In Catalonia, the UNESCO Chair will serve as the focal point for project activities, working in tandem with the Catalan Institute of Health to develop and implement strategies tailored to the region’s specific needs. At the heart of this partnership lies the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signalling a shared commitment to devising contemporary guidelines for climate change mitigation within the Catalan health sector.

The initial phase of the collaboration will focus on assessing the Catalan Health System’s carbon footprint, pinpointing areas of significant greenhouse gas emissions. These insights will inform the design of targeted mitigation policies aligned with stakeholder priorities. Given the unique challenges inherent to reducing carbon footprints in the healthcare sector, the project will also produce a tailored educational program for healthcare professionals aimed at fostering climate change awareness and adaptation within the sector.

Through the implementation of these measures, the project envisages enhancing the Catalan Health System’s resilience to future climate change occurrences while simultaneously alleviating its environmental footprint.

For further information about the CATALYSE project, please contact the project implementation unit via the following link.


CATALYSE Project:  Statement of the Director of the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change, Prof. Dr Pere Fullana-i-Palmer 

Given its nuanced intricacies, addressing carbon footprints within the healthcare realm poses a distinctive set of challenges. Moreover, as the healthcare sector shoulders the responsibility of addressing the health repercussions stemming from climate change, prioritizing mitigation efforts becomes paramount.

The operational dynamics of the healthcare system are inherently unique, rendering many conventional mitigation strategies impractical. For example, the controlled indoor environments required in healthcare facilities differ significantly from those found in residential or commercial settings. Additionally, dietary considerations tailored to individual patient needs dictate the sourcing of food within hospitals, limiting the feasibility of exclusively utilizing locally sourced produce. Furthermore, stringent hygiene standards often mandate the use of single-use products, posing obstacles to the adoption of reusable alternatives.

Amidst the evolving landscape of climate change and its implications for public health, maintaining adaptability and responsiveness is imperative. By fostering collaborative partnerships with healthcare authorities in Catalonia, I am confident in our ability to furnish pragmatic guidance tailored to the nuances of the Catalan healthcare system. I am enthusiastic about contributing to a collective effort aimed at effecting positive change and remaining steadfast in our capacity to realize our objectives.

Looking forward, I hold firm in the belief that the forthcoming years will be marked by significant strides for our UNESCO Chair team. It is incumbent upon us to harness our expertise and insights to furnish a scientific framework for diminishing the carbon footprint and bolstering the resilience of the Catalan Healthcare System.

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