Planetary Health

Julia Steinberger “Don’t sit back and read and think and wait for to have achieved the perfect theory to develop the perfect strategy for action: Get out there. Interfere. Talk to people. Try like all heck to change bits and bobs of the systems that surround you. As you’ll try, you’ll learn, and as you’ll learn, your chances of success will expand extraordinarily”. 
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This Working Group (WG) of the Be-cause health (BCH) platform emerges from the lessons learnt from the “Climate Justice and Health Equity Conference” held in 2021, one of the first events in Belgium to call upon a diversity of stakeholders for sharing experiences and building knowledge on the topic.
Due to the complexity and relevance of the climate crisis and environmental degradation impact on health at global and local levels, transdisciplinary networks are a fruitful mechanism for understanding and tackling the multiple effects of such web of phenomena.

The environmental-health nexus emerged quite recently in the global health field, in the policy landscape, in the media, and among civil society organisations and movements. Therefore, we acknowledge an urgent need for developing a common language, shared vision, and experimenting and scaling concrete solutions among academia, health actors, policy decision-makers, humanitarian and development NGOs, as well as individual engaged citizens without discrimination.

The ultimate goal of the WG is contributing to climate justice and health equity. In line with the Be-cause health principles of social protection and equitable access to good quality responsive health services for all, and strong, resilient and sustainable health systems, this WG aims to create a space for technical exchange and to facilitate joint initiatives.

In terms of ambitions, this WG wishes to be positioned as the central Belgian climate and health network, promoting meaningful participation of diverse range of actors from Low and Middle Income Countries and underrepresented and marginalised voices.

Topics / sub-topics

Due to the complexity of the links between climate crisis and health and the transdisciplinary nature of an emerging field of knowledge that makes boundaries between concepts quite blurred, it is not possible to define an exhaustive list of topics to be covered. Instead, we propose a cloud tag of main topics on the table of this WG. More details on topics and their interrelations and relevance for this WG will appear in the papers or guidelines that the WG will produce.


In addition to upholding human rights and professionalism, the WG highlights the following values that actively drive the work of the WG. This does not in any way seek to substitute the ethical chart or commitment of BCH. It rather recognises that respecting and implementing these requires concrete actions. The WG aims to promote Inclusion, Transparency, Decoloniality, Justice, Equity, and Gender.

Objectives and actions

Work domainsObjectivesActions (Just few examples of actions to be translated in a feasible action plan each year, therefore not exhaustive nor exclusive list)
SharingBuild a network of collaborators (individuals, groups, institutions, etc.)Mapping actors and initiatives and create a registry of collaborators
Contribute to knowledge building and  evidence generation Establishing research collaborations
Bridge the knowledge-to-do gap between academia and actors on the following fields:Translating research findings into policy actionsIdentifying scalable practices and interventionsPost-pandemic policies

Publishing policy/case documentation and other technical products
Create an online space for shared resources (articles, reports, links, etc.)Open a repository/unified database on planetary health topics
LearningFraming the environmental-health nexus beyond the biomedical approach and defining One Health and Planetary Health approaches as unifying narratives, from a system thinking  perspectiveDefine in a technical document the vision and definition of Planetary Health to have common language and understanding 
Providing capacity building opportunities and trainings for younger researchers
Organising thematic webinars / seminars
Provide learning opportunities on the following: Sustainable or restorative economic models (i.e. the donut model)Localised, bottom-up, and small-scale solutions (both successful and failed initiatives)Learning from field voices from unheard populations Learning from social movements, especially youth movements Learning about how to speak about the Climate CrisisLinks between climate justice and health equity

Positioning as an active actor  in the planetary health space Map out opportunities and participating in events/relevant activities 
Follow and inform the global research agendaCreating communication channels
Reinforcing skills and actions tackling climate crisis among Belgian NGOs and other actors for a comprehensive and coordinated response Drafting guidelines and position papers
Follow and advocate at COP27Conducting awareness activities 
Communicating and advocacy by linking climate change / environment to health, we provide a ‘human face’ to the complexity of climate change, making it more understandable to people / communities, closer to their daily world, with  a view to engage more people into action. I think this maybeUtilising social media, write blogs 
CoordinationBecome the platform of reference in Belgium on the environmental-health nexus Common application gateway for conferences
Ensure regular activities of the WGEnsure organization and facilitation of the WG meetings