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Transdisciplinary Research Priorities for Human and Planetary Health in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Human health and wellbeing and the health of the biosphere are inextricably linked. The state of Earth’s life-support systems, including freshwater, oceans, land, biodiversity, atmosphere, and climate, affect human health. At the same time, human activities are adversely affecting natural systems entering the Anthropocene geological epoch. 

In this light, the Future Earth Health Knowledge-Action Network held a Webinar to discuss the process and emerging main themes identified for their research agenda to address cross-cutting knowledge gaps to further understanding and management of the health risks through an expert consultation and review process.. The agenda was developed and published in a special issue on “Ten Years of Urgent Action: Global Environmental Threats to Health and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. A subset of the authors presented and discussed the following themes i.e.:

  1. Health risks of global environmental change (including related to water, hygiene, sanitation, and waste management); food production and consumption; oceans; and extreme weather events and climate change;
  2. Socioeconomic trends that interact with these global environmental changes and consequently affect our health and wellbeing and that of the planet;
  3. Research priorities for human and planetary health 

The research agenda has two main categories. One is risk identification and management, including water, hygiene, sanitation, and waste management; food production and consumption; oceans; and extreme weather events and climate change. The other category is strengthening climate-resilient health systems, including monitoring, surveillance, and evaluation; and risk communication. 

The team highlighted that research approaches taken to fulfill this agenda need to be transdisciplinary, multi-scalar, inclusive, equitable, and broadly communicated. These approaches need to also promote resilient and sustainable development.

Going forward, the team will set up an action plan and engage in Working Groups to bring the agenda in practice aiming to promote human health and well-being as the central focus when prioritizing adaptation and mitigation investments.

We welcome everyone interested in the Health Knowledge-Action Network to join and engage with us through the Health circle on the Future Earth Members platform. We also want to thank all the authors and contributors to this important work that will guide the Health community collaborations.

This webinar was based on a publication which can be accessed here.


Josh Tewksbury
Interim Executive Director, Future Earth, USA

Andy Haines 
Professor Sir, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK

Frances Harris
Geography, Environment and Planning, School of Life and Medical Sciences, University of Hertfordshire, UK

Chadia Wannous
Coordinator, Towards A Safer World Network (TASW), Sweden and Future Earth Health Knowledge-Action Network

Brama Kone
University Peleforo Gon Coulibaly of Korhogo & Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques, Côte d’Ivoire

Kristie L. Ebi
Professor,Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE), University of Washington, USA


Anthony Capon
Director, Monash Sustainable Development Institute, Monash University, Australia 



05:45Webinar open
06:00Opening Remarks: Future Earth and the importance of health
Speaker: Josh Tewksbury
06:05Human and planetary health in the Anthropocene
Speaker: Andy Haines
06:20Overview of global environmental changes
Speaker: Frances Harris
06:35Overview of global socio-economic transitions
Speaker: Chadia Wannous
06:50Research Agenda: Research Priorities for Human and Planetary Health
Speaker: Brama Kone
07:25 – 07:30Closing remarks
Speaker: Kristie L. Ebi


February 10, 2021


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