Planetary health in the pandemic era: a humanitarian perspective and priorities for action

Thursday 5 May 09.30

Room A

In English and in French


The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated some triumphs in scientific research, the collaboration between health actors, and community resilience, while simultaneously revealing some critical weaknesses in communication, coordination, delivery of care, and our collective understanding of the determinants of health and disease. The unprecedented allocation of resources towards the pandemic response has exacerbated health inequities in many contexts and increased the burdens of important diseases. It has also meant that other global health emergencies such as climate change and antimicrobial resistance have been largely left unchecked.

As we transition into a period of Covid-19 control, even if elimination proves impossible, it is vital that the international community address the problems exposed by both the triggering of the pandemic and the ensuing impacts.

At the nexus of these problems lie the complex interactions between humans, animals, and the environment. It is increasingly clear that the health of human populations is inextricably linked to the health of the planet. This means that strategies to improve human health must be coupled with, not at the expense of, efforts to improve the health of other species and the air, food, water, soil, and other essential elements of life that we share.

The purpose of this session is to offer a humanitarian perspective on planetary health and identify ways in which humanitarian actors can play a role in preparing for and responding to future health crises by integrating a planetary health lens into pandemic/epidemic preparedness and response efforts.


Stephen Cornish
Médecins Sans Frontières


Chris Golden
Harvard School of Public Health
Sonia Roschnik
Health Care Without Harm
Monica Rull
Médecins Sans Frontières
Catherine-Lune Grayson
International Committee of the Red Cross