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Getting to a 'Healthy Planet, Healthy People'

18 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2019

See all articles by Joyeeta Gupta

Joyeeta Gupta

UNESCO-IHE; University of Amsterdam

Fintan Hurley

Institute of Occupational Medicine

Ania Maria Grobicki

Green Climate Fund

Terry Keating

Government of the United States of America - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Peter Stoett

University of Ontario

Elaine Baker

The University of Sydney

Andres Guhl

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Jonathan Davies

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Paul Ekins

University College London

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Abstract

Background: Against the background of issue-by-issue environmental assessments (e.g. on climate, oceans) and environmental health assessments (e.g. by WHO, the Lancet Commission), this paper builds on the 2019 Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6) Healthy Planet, Healthy People to ask: What part does a healthy environment play in maintaining/enhancing human health? How can we rank negative human impacts on nature in terms of their relationship to human health?

Methods: Based on the evidence reviewed in GEO-6, and taking the Sustainable Development Goals as the normative starting point, we rank the reversibility of human' impacts on the health of the planet and the planet's impacts on human health. We present these two rankings in an integrated figure to communicate the interconnections between a healthy planet and healthy people and reflect on this approach.

Findings: The health of the environment is inextricably linked to the health of people; those benefiting from exploiting the environment may not be those exposed and most vulnerable to the health risks. Impacts on biodiversity are the least reversible, followed by those on the atmosphere, oceans, fresh water and land; human health is most impacted by atmospheric pollution, followed by biodiversity change and fresh water pollution, land use change and ocean health; but local impacts in different parts of the world may affect the ranking.

Interpretation: The tentative results are neither absolute nor valid long-term, but (a) emphasize that addressing environmental and health issues are synergetic and prioritize the furthest behind; and (b) can help policymakers prioritize their limited re-sources.

Funding Statement: The authors have volunteered their time and expertise for GEO-6 and for this paper. While UN Environment, through government funding, has financed the meetings of the scholars working on the Global Environment Outlook, each author has covered his/her research work under their normal research time.

Declaration of Interests: The authors declare no competing interests.

Ethics Approval Statement: The paper Getting to a 'Healthy Planet, Healthy People' is based on a literature review and expert judgement and hence is exempt from ethical approval. The authors have nevertheless undertaken the assessment with integrity.

Keywords: Nature's contributions to humans, healthy planet, healthy people, ecosystems, Sustainable Development Goals

Suggested Citation

Gupta, Joyeeta and Hurley, Fintan and Grobicki, Ania Maria and Keating, Terry and Stoett, Peter and Baker, Elaine and Guhl, Andres and Davies, Jonathan and Ekins, Paul, Getting to a 'Healthy Planet, Healthy People' (December 20, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3307712 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3307712

Joyeeta Gupta (Contact Author)

UNESCO-IHE ( email )

Westvest 7
Delft, 2611 AX
Netherlands

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Spui 21
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

Fintan Hurley

Institute of Occupational Medicine ( email )

Edinburgh
United Kingdom

Ania Maria Grobicki

Green Climate Fund ( email )

Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Terry Keating

Government of the United States of America - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ( email )

Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
United States

Peter Stoett

University of Ontario ( email )

2000 Simcoe Street North
Oshawa, Ontario, L1H 7K4
Canada

Elaine Baker

The University of Sydney ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney, NC NSW 2006
Australia

Andres Guhl

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia ( email )

Carrera Primera # 18A-12
Bogota, DC D.C. 110311
Colombia

Jonathan Davies

University of British Columbia (UBC) ( email )

2329 West Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia BC V6T 1Z4
Canada

Paul Ekins

University College London

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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