PLANETARY HEALTH

Photo: In the center of the picture, The Planet Earth heals the human patient 2021 by Josep M. Antó and Paco Palmer is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International.

General description

ISGlobal strategic plan is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through different strategic actions. One of these strategies is Planetary Health. Planetary Health has gained widespread visibility with the publication of The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on Planetary Health (Lancet, 2015). Two recent examples of this growing interest are the recognition of Planetary Health in the Call for Action of the Summit Our Planet, Our Future organized by the Foundation of the Nobel Prize and the National Academy of Science in USA and signed by 126 Nobel Laureates, and the recent adoption of Planetary Health as a thematic focus area by the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils Network (EEAC Network).

As part of the Severo Ochoa program, ISGlobal has initiated a series of actions to contribute developing a Planetary Health approach in global and local contexts. These actions have included research and translation, education and outreach.

The main objectives of the Planetary Health activities at ISGlobal are:

  • Strengthen the network of Planetary Health in Europe and Internationally
  • Contribute to develop an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and innovation agenda for Planetary Health
  • Promote interdisciplinary training in Planetary Health
  • Establish local and international alliances in the field

Research and Translation

EU official conference on Planetary Health

ISGlobal collaborated with the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) to plan the EU official conference “The Europe that Protects: Safeguarding our Planet, Safeguarding our Health” hold in December 2019 under the auspices of Finland's presidency of the EU in Helsinki. The main report of the conference was published in Env Res (Halonen J et al. Env Res 2021). As a result of the conference, participants agreed upon a declaration that calls for action to support planetary health during the 2020s. In this Comment, we discussed the core aspects of this declaration.

Identifying research priorities in Planetary Health

The HERA project was funded by the EU to contribute developing the Health and Environment Research Agenda 2020-2030. HERA was coordinated by INSERM with a shared scientific direction between INSERM and ISGlobal. One of the main HERA goals was encourage development of targeted transdisciplinary research on the basis of research gaps for major environmental exposures of humans and ecosystems and major drivers of changes in environmental exposures and policy needs integrating environment, ecosystem quality and health research. HERA has provided a unique opportunity to develop planetary health research priorities in several of its 6 goals (Horizon 2020 HERA Research agenda).

Expanding the Scope of Research in Planetary Health in Europe

With the objective to strengthen the field of Planetary Health, particularly within Europe, a series of webinars in Planetary Health was organized at ISGlobal together with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), by bringing together stakeholders from academia, government, and civil society.

Expanding the Scope of Research in Planetary Health in Europe - 5 sessions, 24.02-24.03.2021

  • Strengthening Planetary Health Research and Action in Europe
  • Food Systems, Sustainability and Health
  • Energy Decarbonization, Health and Equity
  • Promoting Health through Sustainable Urban Development
  • Catalyzing demand for Planetary Health in Europe

Supporting the inclusion of Planetary Health in the Health calls of Horizon Europe

ISGlobal has coordinated a cluster of several scientific organizations in Europe, mainly the THL in Finland and the LSHTM in UK, to bring Planetary Health as a research priority in the forthcoming Horizon Europe - Work Programme 2023-2024. This activity has consisted in providing advice through the public consultation process to the forthcoming call: HORIZON-HLTH-2023-ENVHLTH- 2.01: Planetary health: understanding the links between environmental degradation and health impacts. Remarkably, the draft of the call recognizes the importance of several of our activities in establishing Planetary Health as a relevant opportunity where research funding can result in strengthening several of the EU Green Deal policies. In parallel to providing advice to Horizon Europe, ISGlobal and HERA, with the collaboration of THL and the LSHTM, are preparing the webinar “Fostering applications on Planetary Health to the Horizon Europe Programs” to inspire and stimulate new research projects.

Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Europe

The Lancet Countdown Global tracks progress on health and climate change and provides an independent assessment of the health effects of climate change, the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the health implications of these actions. It follows on from the work of the 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change which concluded that anthropogenic climate change threatens to undermine the past 50 years of gains in public health, and conversely, that a comprehensive response to climate change could be “the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century. The Lancet Countdown’s work is led by its technical experts and 35 leading academic centres and UN agencies across the world.

In 2018, ISGlobal experts join The Lancet Countdown in Europe. The Lancet Countdown in Europe is then established as a research collaboration in 2021, whose mission is to monitor health and climate change in the region. Building on the work of the global Lancet Countdown and other regions, it will leverage on the wealth of data and cross disciplinary expertise in Europe, to develop high-resolution Europe-specific indicators that explore in further depth aspects of particular relevance to the region. The ISGlobal involvement in the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Europe includes among others Cathryn Tonne as a working group leader, and Josep M.Antó as the co-chair of the initiative.

In the context of the Lancet Countdown Europe, Cathryn Tonne is the PI of CATALYSE (2022-2025), a recently funded Horizon Europe project with the overarching goal of providing new knowledge, data, and tools on the relationships between changes in environmental hazards caused by climate change, ecosystems, and human health among others.

Education

Planetary Wellbeing Initiative at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)

In late 2017, as a result of a dialog between the UPF Rector and the ISGlobal Planetary Health experts, the Rector Jaume Casals announced the university’s intention to promote a multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary initiative in the field of Planetary Wellbeing. The initiative, coordinated by Josep Lluís Martí and Josep M Antó, has provided the UPF with a vision committed to tackling the major challenges facing global society in the 21st century and to generate transformative energies to reshape both the university and its urban environment, i.e. the city of Barcelona.

Inter-university Master Degree in Planetary Health

Building on the ISGlobal developments in Planetary Health, we’re positioned in the front of Planetary Health education offering one of the world’s first inter-university master's degree in Planetary Health together with the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC; coordinator) and UPF. The Master started in 2021 in a full-on line format.

A master course on Planetary Health

Since the course 2019-20, ISGlobal experts are teaching a new elective Planetary Health Course as part of the Master’s in Public Health at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF).

Planetary Health course in the ISGlobal International Summer School in Global Health

Planetary Health course offered in the International Summer School in Global Health at ISGlobal

Outreach and Communication

Expert webinars

Past events:

Other activities

Blogs

Infographic

7 facts showing why our health depends on the environment - a planetary health approach

News

Youtube Channel

Here

Other Institutional Activities

  • Monthly Planetary Health and One Health seminar. The monthly Planetary Health and One health meetings have the objective to collaborate and bring these two approaches closer by sharing the different research activities and collaborations that are taking place within the institution.
  • Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) carbon footprint assessment. Following the experience of assessing the UPF carbon footprint, ISGlobal coordinated a proposal to assess the carbon footprint of the different PRBB research centers which was accepted and is now in progress.
  • Planetary Health Alliance membership. In 2018 ISGlobal become Member of the Planetary Health Alliance and is being an active member of the European Hub as part of the Working Groups in Education and Research.
  • Québec-Catalonia Bilateral Cooperation Project with the Association pour la santé publique du Québec (ASPQ) - Réseau d’action durable en santé et services sociaux (Réseau ADS), with the objective to encourage the creation of healthcare professional networks in environmental action and share best practices of interdisciplinary collaborations in Planetary Health.

Publications

  • Jaana I Halonen, et al. The Helsinki Declaration 2020: Europe that protects, The Lancet Planetary Health, Volume 4, Issue 11, 2020, Pages e503-e505, ISSN 2542-5196, https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(20)30242-4.
  • Jaana I. Halonen, et al. A call for urgent action to safeguard our planet and our health in line with the Helsinki declaration, Environmental Research, Volume 193, 2021, 110600, ISSN 0013-9351, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2020.110600
  • Romanello M et al. Tracking progress on health and climate change in Europe. Lancet Public Health 2021 Nov;6(11):e858-e865. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(21)00207-3
  • O'Callaghan-Gordo C and Antó JM. COVID-19: The disease of the Anthropocene. 2020 Aug;187:109683. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.109683
  • Antó JM, Martí JL, Casals J et al. The Planetary Wellbeing Initiative: Pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals in Higher Education. Sustainability 2021; 13: 3372; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063372

Our Team

Core Team