Discussion on integrated governance for health through national biodiversity strategies


The Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health has organized a virtual seminar titled "Bridging Biodiversity and Health: A Global Perspective," where Anna Stewart-Ibarra, Executive Director of the IAI, will participate on 6 September from 9:00 to 10:30 EDT. In this panel discussion, she will join her co-authors to discuss their recent commentary published in The Lancet, "Advancing integrated governance for health through national biodiversity strategies and action plans".

196 governments have committed to the Kunming-Montreal 2022 Global Biodiversity Framework, resulting in updates to national biodiversity strategies worldwide. The seminar will address questions such as: How will governments integrate the broad interconnections between biodiversity and health into these strategies? How can the healthcare sector participate in co-designing and ensuring the addressing of interconnections between ecosystems and public health?

Welcoming remarks will be delivered by David Cooper, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and Kari Nadeau, Director of the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

To receive a connection link by email, interested individuals must register at: https://harvard.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYpfuihqz8sEtAgly_BUHzq_0pm4Vh1Hlwc#/registration.

Additional speakers include the following article co-authors: Liz Willetts, Director of Planetary Health Policy, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health; Neil Vora, Fellow at Conservation International; Carly Siege, Director of International Policies, Conservation International; Benjamas Chotthong, Director of Programs, Thailand Environment Institute; Ojistoh Horn, Mohawk/Kanienkehaka, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Akwesasne Medical Clinic; Phyllis Omido, Founder, Center for Justice, Governance, and Environmental Action, Kenya; Nathan Bennett, Global Ocean Lead, WWF-USA and IUCN CEESP; Lujain Algodmani, Incoming President, World Medical Association, and Director of Global Action and Project Portfolio, EAT; Cicilia Wangari Githaiga, Founder, Wangari Githaiga & Co Advocates; Manushi Sharma, Fellow at Collaborating for Resilience; Christopher Golden, Program Director and Associate Professor, Planetary Health Nutrition, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

Among the recommendations outlined in the publication are:

  • Enhancing coordination of funding between environmental and health ministries to address biodiversity-health linkages.
  • Expanding consideration of biodiversity's role in public health by linking mental health, nutrition, control of communicable and non-communicable diseases, and child development plans to national biodiversity strategies.
  • Employing a policy coordination checklist for biodiversity-health connections to facilitate collaborative efforts by governments and institutions.
  • Coordinating strategies among local, subnational, and national governments to simultaneously address climate change, environmental issues, and health concerns to respond to convergent risks and optimize resources.
  • Recognizing and aligning with indigenous health determinants based on nature interconnectedness and the 2023 World Health Assembly resolution on indigenous people's health.
  • Establishing evaluation processes to assess progress in implementing biodiversity-health linkages.
  • Recognizing the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment and its connection to the right to health, particularly through curricula.
  • Acknowledging the healthcare sector's contribution to ecosystem and biodiversity loss and mobilizing to identify, quantify, and address its adverse effects.
  • Applying key objectives of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework related to health outcomes to establish specific independent national goals on biodiversity-health interrelations.