ECI Big Ideas Seminar: Planetary Health

The concept of planetary health is based on the understanding that human health and civilization depend on flourishing natural systems and wise stewardship of those natural systems . However, natural systems are being degraded to an extent unprecedented in human history, threatening the health of current and future generations.

Protecting natural systems requires urgent transformative action. Driving such action requires robust evidence collected and agreed upon across multiple disciplines (public health, environmental science, economics, political science, anthropology, organisational studies, behavioural science and others) to establish links between human actions, environmental degradation and negative human health outcomes resulting from that degradation. Better understanding of these interconnections, which may be both direct and indirect, has the potential to incentivise political and social action to better protect the environment and, by extension, human health.

Economics is one approach that might be used to drive that action. The task of the Rockefeller Economic Council on Planetary Health is to explore the role economics can play, in particular through the lens of governance, monitoring and incentives, and develop an appropriate economic toolkit.

The Planetary Health Economic Council Secretariat has clustered environmental and human health impacts and interactions around three broad areas of air pollution/climate change, water (freshwater and oceans) pollution, and land/natural resources degradation and biodiversity loss. The Secretariat is seeking to gather better evidence and understanding of the linkages and development of options to address these challenges at planetary scale.

The aim of this seminar is to present the concept of planetary health, set out some of the key policy issues and options and have an open discussion with participants from ECI and elsewhere on: * Interlinkages: what is known about the links between environmental conditions and human health in this context? * Evidence: How strong is the existing evidence and how is this used by policymakers and social actors? * Gaps in knowledge: Is the current knowledge base insufficient to enable the links to be clearly articulated and presented? If so, what need to be done to fill these gaps (e.g. detection, surveillance, monitoring, reporting)?
Following a presentation from Sam Bickersteth facilitated discussions will be held clustered around the key topics.

Sam Bickersteth
Sam Bickersteth joined the Oxford Martin School as Executive Director of the Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health in February 2018.
Sam was Chief Executive of the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) from 2011 to 2018. CDKN is a global alliance of southern and northern organisations delivering solutions for climate compatible development in developing countries. It has supported work in 70 countries in the areas of climate policy, planning, finance, climate-related disasters and international negotiations.
Sam is an agricultural economist with a background in food security, natural resources and climate change, having previously worked for PwC, DFID and Oxfam. Sam has lived in Africa, South Asia and Latin America in his roles as researcher, policy adviser and programme manager. He has been a Director in PwC’s Sustainability and Climate Change team, an Honorary Research Associate at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute and adviser to the London School of Economics/Leeds University Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP). He has also served as Chair of Low Emissions Development Strategies Global Partnership and adviser to the UK Government Foresight Project on Global Food and Farming Futures.