Environment, News

“While we should continue to focus on addressing Covid-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand, we need to also continue addressing the health of the planet, the underlying cause of pandemics such as Covid-19,” says Sione Tu’itahi, HPF’s Executive Director.


Mr Tu’itahi made the comment after participating at the launch of the São Paulo Declaration on Planetary Health today.


The Health Promotion Forum of NZ along with more than 250 organisations from 47 countries representing more than 19 sectors across society is a signatory to the Declaration.


Launched by the Planetary Health Alliance and the University of São Paulo the Declaration was developed by the global planetary health community with support from the United Nations Development Programme.


The Declaration states that humans must make transformational shifts now in how we live in order to optimize the health and wellbeing of all people and the planet we depend on. It also guides people across society with suggested concrete actions that support a more just and regenerative post-pandemic world. 


“The Sao Paulo Declaration on Planetary Health is a global effort of the planetary health community, calling on all of humanity to collaborate and elevate its consciousness towards a more equitable and resilient post-pandemic world,” says Mr Tu’itahi.


“We made a similar call at the 2019 IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion in Rotorua. Unity of thought and action is key. We must work together as one human family at the local and global level.(See the Legacy Documents from IUHPE2019)


“And we will continue the dialogue at the IUHPE2022 Conference in Montreal, May 2022,” adds Mr Tu’itahi.


“The urgency of this moment is hard to overstate,” says Sam Myers, director of the Planetary Health Alliance, principal research scientist in environmental health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and lead author of The Lancet letter.


“Planetary health science convincingly demonstrates that the ongoing degradation of our planet’s natural systems is a clear and present danger to the health of all people everywhere.”

According to the Lancet on our current trajectory, we can no longer safeguard human health and wellbeing. “The Covid-19 pandemic is a turning point within each of our lifetimes and must serve as a moment of transition for humanity. To protect human health and all of life on Earth, we will need to, and can, effect urgent, deep, structural changes in how we live. This great transition demands a rapid shift in how we produce and consume food, energy, and manufactured goods; requires rethinking the way we design and live in the world’s cities; and insists we heal our relationship with nature and to each other. Such a paradigm shift requires participation of every sector, every community, and every individual.”

What is planetary health?

Planetary health is a solutions-oriented, transdisciplinary field and social movement focused on analyzing and addressing the impacts of human disruptions to Earth’s natural systems on human health and all life on Earth. The field was initially launched with the release of the Rockefeller-Lancet Commission report “Safeguarding Human Health in the Anthropocene.

Subsequently, the Rockefeller Foundation, and then the Wellcome Trust, provided core support for the Planetary Health Alliance (PHA) to foster the field and community.

Click HERE for the full list of signatories and to add your voice.