More research needed on the impact of environmental change on human health

'Global environmental change has major effects on human health.' This is 1 of the key messages of the Planetary Health report presented by the KNAW last week. ZonMw contributed with the Climate and Health knowledge agenda and endorses the findings in the advisory report.

The KNAW report 'Planetary Health. An emerging field to be developed' provides an overview of existing scientific knowledge in the field of Planetary Health and identifies important knowledge gaps. The consequences of climate change and biodiversity loss, such as heat stress, floods, spread of infectious diseases and food shortages, have serious health effects. For example, it leads to more diseases or even death and poorer mental health.

Complex and urgent challenges

1 of the conclusions is that science plays a key role in averting these health risks. Not only by actively sharing the available knowledge, but also by filling the knowledge gaps. ZonMw recognises and endorses the complex and urgent challenges in the advisory report, and supports the recommendations to achieve a better understanding of the health consequences and offering action perspectives. ZonMw is therefore keen to strengthen its programming on the themes of climate change, sustainable healthcare, and nutrition.


ZonMw chairman Arfan Ikram reflected on the report on behalf of ZonMw: 'Planetary Health requires close cooperation between policy, practice, civil society organisations and science. So that knowledge-based solutions can be worked on. ZonMw is happy to commit to Planetary Health from its role as a connector: by involving practice, by co-creation with social partners and science, focussed on solutions for practice and policy.'

With our efforts, we want to contribute to the inclusion of health in all policies. Whether it is housing, energy or mobility, all these challenges can contribute to improve Planetary Health.