Health and the environment

The Health-Environment Nexus

While there is growing awareness of the steep health impacts of global environmental changes—including the climate crisis, accelerating biodiversity loss, and an increasing saturation of plastic and chemical wastes—bringing the health and environment sectors together for joint action is easier said than done.

Actors from both sectors must first break down silos and engage in cross-sectoral agendas, publications, approaches, and activities. Evidence needs to be shared about the mechanisms through which health-environment nexus issues can be addressed, with guidance developed for policymakers at all levels so they can support Planetary Health. The challenging policy architecture around global environmental negotiations needs to be explained, giving health-policy experts pathways for interdisciplinary work.

Health in the Global Environmental Agenda

The Health-Environment Nexus Project aims to do this. The joint project between IISD and the Global Health Academy of the University of Edinburgh will inform and guide policymakers toward building an integrated global policy agenda across the UN system as well as achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We will raise awareness of interlinked health and environmental issues so they can be considered in implementation efforts and planning for the high-profile negotiations that inform multilateral processes.

The main report, Health in the Global Environmental Agenda: A policy guide, as well as webinars, and videos, will provide meaningful, succinct, and targeted information to enable health experts to engage in and follow global environmental processes at an elevated level, focusing on intersections where policy approaches could incorporate health and well-being issues. A goal is to create a bridge so experts on environmental agreements contribute to robust health policy, while health professionals can strengthen environmental agreements. This is a policy guide for Planetary Health.

Links for navigating this policy guide

Executive Summary
1.0 Introduction: The health–environment nexus
2.0 Health Governance Through an Environmental Lens 
3.0 Global Environmental Governance Through a Health Lens
      3.1 Biodiversity
      3.2 Climate Change
      3.3 Pollution
      3.4 Food Systems
4.0 Environmental Determinants of Health: A science-policy focus of cross-cutting themes
      4.1 Water and Water-Related Disease
      4.2 Gender and Women’s Health
      4.3 Biodiversity Technologies
      4.4 Ecosystem Integrity and Mental Health
      4.5 Ecosystem and Traditional Knowledge Integrity and Medicines
5.0 Conclusions and the Way Forward

Related Visuals