Our changing global environment poses significant and increasing concerns for the health of humans and other species. Importantly, drivers of diseases are largely human-mediated. Rapid changes to our landscapes, food production practices, and other large-scale environmental changes have resulted not only in impacts on biodiversity and ecological dynamics, but have also demonstrated profound implications for human health. Changes in climate, pathogen host ranges, development of antimicrobial resistance, pathways for toxin exposure, and altered interactions with natural and built environments to meet our growing population’s demands are driving increased disease incidence and burden for endemic and emerging zoonotic diseases, as well as non-communicable diseases.
- The ecoHEALTH project seeks to understand health implications of these current and anticipated global environmental changes to identify solutions that will promote both human health and ecosystem integrity.
The ecoHEALTH project was established in 2010 under the international biodiversity research program DIVERSITAS. In 2014, DIVERSITAS and other global environmental change programs began merging under the umbrella of Future Earth, a new 10-year platform for international scientific collaboration to provide knowledge around global environmental change and drive progress toward sustainability. Initial Future Earth partners include the Belmont Forum, ICSU, ISSC, UNESCO, UNEP, and the UNU as part of the Science and Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability.
EcoHealth Alliance hosts and Chairs the project, with a Scientific Committee of 12 multidisciplinary experts from UN organizations and academic institutions. The ecoHEALTH project addresses the following scientific priorities:
- Economics of emerging diseases
- Relation between biodiversity andemerging diseases
- Leveraging health to mitigate underlyingdrivers of conservation threats and disease emergence
- Impacts of climate change and demography on global health
ecoHEALTH’s scientific activities are aimed at improving understanding of the dynamics between health and global environmental change and using scientific findings to drive health-promoting sustainable solutions.