Biodiversity and Health in the face of Climate Change

Challenges, opportunities and evidence gaps


Conference proceedings and conference documentation now available here

A related open-access book published by Springer will be available in early 2019


Joint European Conference held by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the European Network of Heads of Nature Conservation Agencies (ENCA) in co-operation with the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) / German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)


The event is co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe.


Climate change poses significant challenges to biodiversity and human well-being in Europe. Biodiversity in urban as well as in adjacent rural areas can provide health and climate change mitigation and adaptation benefits that can be actively fostered by nature-based solutions.


This joint European conference in Bonn will bring together experts from science, policy and practice to highlight and discuss the importance of biodiversity’s contribution to human health in the face of climate change. In this context health is considered in its physical, psychological and social dimension, including socio-environmental equity. The aim of the conference is to increase knowledge, share experiences and foster nature-based solutions to meet the challenges of climate change and health issues.


Latest scientific findings on the impacts of climate change on European biodiversity and links to human health will be discussed. Furthermore, the implementation of nature-based solutions towards health and climate goals will be outlined. Interactive sessions will focus on case studies of successful demonstration projects and lessons learned. Resulting discussions will lead to recommendations for creating synergies between ongoing policy processes, scientific programmes and practical implementation.


The conference is part of a series of European Conferences on Biodiversity and Climate Change (ECBCC). The first conference held in Bonn in 2011, explored options to enhance communication and co-operation between science, policy and practice and identified research priorities. The second conference held in 2013, focused on adaptation of main European ecosystems and led to recommendations for climate change-adapted nature conservation in Europe. In 2015, the third conference discussed the role of nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation in urban areas and their rural surroundings. As a follow up, this year’s conference will highlight the important contribution of green spaces and biodiversity to human health in a changing climate.


The conference is divided into three main areas (day 1: science, day 2: practice and implementation, day 3: policy and economy) and will feature presentations by leading experts in the fields of biodiversity, health and climate change including:


Stefan Leiner (European Commission, DG EnvironmentHead of Unit “Biodiversity”)

Birgit de Boissezon (European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, 
  Head of Unit "Sustainable Management of Natural Resources")

Elizabet Paunovic (Head of Office, European Centre for Environment and Health,
  World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe)

Ronan Uhel (Head of Natural System and Sustainability, European Environmental Agency, EEA)

Cristina Romanelli (Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD)

Thomas Elmqvist (Stockholm Resilience Centre)

Richard Mitchell (Institute for Health and Wellbeing/CRESH, Glasgow University)

Kevin Gaston (University of Exeter, UK)

Terry Hartig (Upsala University, Sweden)

Catherine Ward Thompson (Edinburgh College of Art, UK)

Roderick Lawrence (Director of the Global Environmental Policy Program, University Geneva)

Luc Bas (IUCN)


On day 2, interactive workshop sessions will address eight specific themes ranging from “Evidence for biodiversity’s contribution to health”, to “Health and protected areas” and “Psychological effects of nature and biodiversity” as well as “Linking initiatives in biodiversity, health and policy”, “Allergenic plants and vector borne diseases” and “Nature-based solutions for health and social equity”. In addition, “Landscape planning for multifunctional urban spaces” will be addressed. A special session is dedicated to “Lessons learned from green interventions for enhancing human health in urban areas”, where emphasis is given to good practice examples and the sharing of experience among community level actors.
Results of the conference discussions will feed into ENCA recommendations for creating synergies between ongoing policy processes, scientific programmes and practical implementation of nature conservation measures in European urban and rural areas to support health measures in the face of a changing climate.
Here, you can find more information on the conference programme, keynotes/speakers, and the interactive sessions.
Networking opportunities and social events include the evening reception at the first day and the conference dinner at the second day of the conference.


Early bird registration deadline: 3 April 2017 - (75,00 €)
Final registration deadline: 29 May 2017 - (110,00 €)

Please register here. (Due to limited availability of places early registration is recommended.) 


Deadline for abstract submission: 28 February 2017
We welcome the submission of abstracts for oral and poster presentations! Oral presentations will be held in eight parallel sessions. We are particularly interested in contributions that demonstrate good practice in implementing nature-based solutions to health and equity issues in urban areas and their rural surroundings from a scientific, policy and practical perspective. Ideally these topics should be linked to climate change issues. Please note that only a limited number of contributions can be accepted due to restricted number of sessions.

Here, you find details on leading questions and content for the eight parallel sessions as well as information about abstract submission.

Please help us promote this event by downloading and distributing the conference poster:
Poster ECBCC 2017 A3-1.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 541.6 KB
Poster ECBCC 2017 A4-1.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 459.9 KB