Planetary Health. An emerging field to be developed
5 June 2023
Planetary Health was launched as a new scientific field in 2015. It focuses on the consequences of global environmental change for the health and survival of all species living on Earth. Examples of possible effects on human health include heat stress, infectious diseases and pandemics, malnutrition, and mental health problems. Fortunately, many negative consequences can still be avoided if measures are taken in the short term. The Academy believes that science can play an indispensable role in tackling societal challenges of this kind by establishing and analysing facts and finding solutions. This belief prompted the Academy to set up the Planetary Health Committee, charged with surveying this emerging field and drawing up a research agenda of knowledge gaps that require urgent action. For practical reasons, the committee has focused mainly on human health, which has so far been the subject of most research. In this advisory report, the Academy also makes a number of recommendations for the successful implementation of this Planetary Health research agenda. These are to encourage the above-mentioned interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaboration, to integrate Planetary Health research into existing research projects and programmes, to develop new research programmes and the associated funding, and to implement and communicate knowledge. The boards of public knowledge institutions, university medical centres, research institutes and research funders, researchers themselves and health care professionals are encouraged to follow up on these recommendations.