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Special Issue "Ten Years of Urgent Action: Global Environmental Threats to Health and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Climate Change and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Carlos Corvalan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Australia
Interests: climate change and health; biodiversity and health; drought and health, sustainable development; building climate resilience
Dr. Selina Lo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Monash Sustainable Development Institute, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Interests: planetary health; legal determinants of health; commercial determinants of health; sustainable development; health security; global health law; ecocide
Prof. Dr. Anthony Capon
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Interests: urban health; urban transitions; climate change; sustainable development; planetary health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There is increasing awareness in society and sufficient scientific evidence regarding the deteriorating state of the environment and the need for urgent actions to respond to it. Humanity has failed to implement timely preventive actions, and we are now at the stage of damage control. In 2015, world leaders made commitments for substantial changes to the way we produce, consume, and prosper without further environmental damage, and moreover, with environmental and social improvements. These ideals were agreed in a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030 and by taking action on these, there is the opportunity for fully healthy societies to prosper while protecting the environment. Improvements and achievements on any one SDG will have positive health impacts and vice versa.

Ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all at all ages (SDG3) can be seen as central to all other SDGs. Urgent actions are needed to achieve the SDGs in the next 10 years, in particular by addressing those where lack of action may derail other efforts in other SDG advancements in planetary health—specifically, SDG 13, Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts; SDG 14, Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development; and SDG 15, Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. However, all SDGs are important for planetary health, and therefore, this Special Issue of IJERPH invites papers that address health in the context of global environmental damage and protection (e.g., the co-benefits of acting on health and climate change). Any thematic angles on one, several, or all of the 17 of the SDGs are welcome, and especially in regard to their environmental, global governance, and health equity consequences. Action-oriented research papers and policy-relevant articles are particularly welcome, as are studies from developing and developed country research and studies by young scientists.

Adj. Prof. Dr. Carlos Corvalan
Dr. Selina Lo
Prof. Dr. Anthony Capon
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainable development goals
  • Ecosystems and human health
  • Drought, desertification, and land degradation (DLDD) and health
  • Oceans and human health
  • Global environmental change and health
  • Planetary health
  • Climate change and health equity
  • Global governance for health and environment
  • Building climate resilience and environmental sustainability

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
A Systems Understanding Underpins Actions at the Climate and Health Nexus
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2398; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18052398 - 01 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 824
Abstract
Multiple sectors—health and non-health—can determine the health and well-being of people and the condition of the socio-ecological environment on which it depends. At the climate and human health nexus, a systems-based understanding of climate change and health should inform all stages of the [...] Read more.
Multiple sectors—health and non-health—can determine the health and well-being of people and the condition of the socio-ecological environment on which it depends. At the climate and human health nexus, a systems-based understanding of climate change and health should inform all stages of the policy process from problem conceptualization to design, implementation, and evaluation. Such an understanding should guide countries, their partners, and donors to incorporate health in strategic climate actions based on how health is affected by, and plays a role in, the dynamic interactions across economic, environmental, and societal domains. A systems-based approach to sustainable development has been widely promoted but operationalizing it for project level and policy development and implementation has not been well articulated. Such an approach is especially valuable for informing how to address climate change and health together through policy actions which can achieve multiple, mutually reinforcing goals. This commentary article describes strategic steps including the complementary use of health impact assessment, quantification of health impacts, and linking climate and health actions to national and global policy processes to apply a systems-based approach for developing climate mitigation and adaptation actions with human health benefits. Full article
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Article
Health Synergies across International Sustainability and Development Agendas: Pathways to Strengthen National Action
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1664; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18041664 - 09 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 802
Abstract
Since 2015 there has been a surge of international agendas to address a range of global challenges: climate change (Paris Agreement), sustainable development (Agenda 2030), disaster risk reduction (Sendai Framework) and sustainable urban transformation (New Urban Agenda). Health is relevant to all of [...] Read more.
Since 2015 there has been a surge of international agendas to address a range of global challenges: climate change (Paris Agreement), sustainable development (Agenda 2030), disaster risk reduction (Sendai Framework) and sustainable urban transformation (New Urban Agenda). Health is relevant to all of these agendas. Policymakers must now translate these global agendas into national level policies to implement the agreed goals in a coherent manner. However, approaches to synergise health activities within and across these agendas are needed, in order to achieve better coherence and maximise national level implementation. This research evaluated the framing of human health within these agendas. A content analysis of the agendas was conducted. Findings indicate (i) the importance of increased awareness of health systems strengthening as a helpful framework to guide the integration of health issues across the agendas, (ii) only two health themes had synergies across the agendas, (iii) the lack of a governance mechanism to support the integration of these four agendas to enable national (and sub-national) governments to more feasibly implement their ambitions, and (iv) the vital component of health leadership. Finally, planetary health is a relevant and timely concept that can support the urgent shift to a healthy planet and people. Full article
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Article
Towards Climate Resilient and Environmentally Sustainable Health Care Facilities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 8849; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17238849 - 28 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1000
Abstract
The aim of building climate resilient and environmentally sustainable health care facilities is: (a) to enhance their capacity to protect and improve the health of their target communities in an unstable and changing climate; and (b) to empower them to optimize the use [...] Read more.
The aim of building climate resilient and environmentally sustainable health care facilities is: (a) to enhance their capacity to protect and improve the health of their target communities in an unstable and changing climate; and (b) to empower them to optimize the use of resources and minimize the release of pollutants and waste into the environment. Such health care facilities contribute to high quality of care and accessibility of services and, by helping reduce facility costs, also ensure better affordability. They are an important component of universal health coverage. Action is needed in at least four areas which are fundamental requirements for providing safe and quality care: having adequate numbers of skilled human resources, with decent working conditions, empowered and informed to respond to these environmental challenges; sustainable and safe management of water, sanitation and health care waste; sustainable energy services; and appropriate infrastructure and technologies, including all the operations that allow for the efficient functioning of a health care facility. Importantly, this work contributes to promoting actions to ensure that health care facilities are constantly and increasingly strengthened and continue to be efficient and responsive to improve health and contribute to reducing inequities and vulnerability within their local settings. To this end, we propose a framework to respond to these challenges. Full article
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Review

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Review
When Land Is Under Pressure Health Is Under Stress
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(1), 136; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18010136 - 27 Dec 2020
Viewed by 778
Abstract
The land provides vital resources to support life on Earth. Land ecosystems services have social, cultural, and spiritual benefits and promote human health and well-being. However, human activities, particularly ongoing unsustainable land practices, are negatively impacting ecosystems through desertification, land degradation and drought [...] Read more.
The land provides vital resources to support life on Earth. Land ecosystems services have social, cultural, and spiritual benefits and promote human health and well-being. However, human activities, particularly ongoing unsustainable land practices, are negatively impacting ecosystems through desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD). This article highlights the pressures and impacts of DLDD on human health through exposure pathways, including water security and safety; sanitation and hygiene; food security and safety; air quality; and soil quality. We describe the impacts on 19 health outcomes in three groups: non-communicable diseases; injuries; and infections, parasitic and nutritional diseases. The magnitude of these health impacts is mediated by social, economic, and health system-related factors. We propose actions for the health sector to respond to the DLDD challenges. Full article
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Review
A Meta-Synthesis of Policy Recommendations Regarding Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9342; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17249342 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 801
Abstract
Changing mobility patterns combined with changes in the climate present challenges and opportunities for global health, requiring effective, relevant, and humane policy responses. This study used data from a systematic literature review that examined the intersection between climate change, migration, and health. The [...] Read more.
Changing mobility patterns combined with changes in the climate present challenges and opportunities for global health, requiring effective, relevant, and humane policy responses. This study used data from a systematic literature review that examined the intersection between climate change, migration, and health. The study aimed to synthesize policy recommendations in the peer-reviewed literature, regarding this type of environmental migration with respect to health, to strengthen the evidence-base. Systematic searches were conducted in four academic databases (PubMed, Ovid Medline, Global Health and Scopus) and Google Scholar for empirical studies published between 1990–2020 that used any study design to investigate migration and health in the context of climate change. Studies underwent a two-stage protocol-based screening process and eligible studies were appraised for quality using a standardized mixed-methods tool. From the initial 2425 hits, 68 articles were appraised for quality and included in the synthesis. Among the policy recommendations, six themes were discernible: (1) avoid the universal promotion of migration as an adaptive response to climate risk; (2) preserve cultural and social ties of mobile populations; (3) enable the participation of migrants in decision-making in sites of relocation and resettlement; (4) strengthen health systems and reduce barriers for migrant access to health care; (5) support and promote optimization of social determinants of migrant health; (6) integrate health into loss and damage assessments related to climate change, and consider immobile and trapped populations. The results call for transformative policies that support the health and wellbeing of people engaging in or affected by mobility responses, including those whose migration decisions and experiences are influenced by climate change, and to establish and develop inclusive migrant healthcare. Full article
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Review
Transdisciplinary Research Priorities for Human and Planetary Health in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 8890; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17238890 - 30 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2270
Abstract
Human health and wellbeing and the health of the biosphere are inextricably linked. The state of Earth’s life-support systems, including freshwater, oceans, land, biodiversity, atmosphere, and climate, affect human health. At the same time, human activities are adversely affecting natural systems. This review [...] Read more.
Human health and wellbeing and the health of the biosphere are inextricably linked. The state of Earth’s life-support systems, including freshwater, oceans, land, biodiversity, atmosphere, and climate, affect human health. At the same time, human activities are adversely affecting natural systems. This review paper is the outcome of an interdisciplinary workshop under the auspices of the Future Earth Health Knowledge Action Network (Health KAN). It outlines a research agenda to address cross-cutting knowledge gaps to further understanding and management of the health risks of these global environmental changes through an expert consultation and review process. The research agenda has four main themes: (1) risk identification and management (including related to water, hygiene, sanitation, and waste management); food production and consumption; oceans; and extreme weather events and climate change. (2) Strengthening climate-resilient health systems; (3) Monitoring, surveillance, and evaluation; and (4) risk communication. Research approaches need to be transdisciplinary, multi-scalar, inclusive, equitable, and broadly communicated. Promoting resilient and sustainable development are critical for achieving human and planetary health. Full article
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