Urban reduction of GHG emissions in China and Europe (URGENCHE)

WHO is a partner in URGENCHE, a project funded by the European Commission to develop and apply a methodology to assess the risks and benefits for health and well-being of alternative urban policies for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in China and Europe. A reduction in GHG emissions would affect directly many important aspects of people’s lives, such as heating, urban development and transport choices, and thus indirectly affect their health.

Seven cities are involved in the project, five in Europe (Kuopio, Finland; Stuttgart, Germany; Thessaloniki, Greece; Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Basel, Switzerland) and two in China (Suzhou and Xi’an).
WHO’s task is to provide estimates of the impact on health of changes in environmental exposures attributable to changes in urban policies for the transport and housing sectors.

Activities specifically consist of: 

  • selecting health endpoints, in consultation with partners and cities; 
  • developing methods for estimation of impacts on health and well-being of GHG policies applicable in project cities.

As a novelty, the project considers well-being among the health endpoints. While health impacts such as mortality and morbidity have been studied in many environmental health impact assessment projects, the measurement of well-being endpoints and their relationship to environmental exposures are much less understood.

Similarly, methods for the assessment of traditional health impact are to be improved and updated in the light of continuously emerging evidence, whereas those for the assessment of well-being endpoints are being developed.