Planetary Health and the adaptive governance of disease: theory and practice of the social-ecological systems approach

Meeting Organizer

Mahidol University

Global Health Asia Institute

Contact Person : Nicole de Paula,

29 January 2019
09:00 - 12:30 hrs.
Venue : Lotus Suite 1

Open to All Participants


A healthier environment means healthier people. This side meeting will build on the emerging field of planetary health to address root causes of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), as well as innovate ways to prevent them. Focusing on groundbreaking research on the application of the Social-Ecological Systems and Resilience framework (SESR), panelists will showcase integrated ways to understand and manage living systems and argue for adaptive governance, as an essential long-term public health policies objective. The SESR framework provides a well-trained theoretical and practical basis for "adaptive governance" in relation to environmental problems, which remains to be applied to health and disease, where conveners of this event are breaking new scientific ground. Particular emphasis will be on how adaptive governance requires harnessing cross-scale influences and synergies visible though the lenses of a highly diverse set of expertise and perspectives including: non-health sciences and implying efforts towards iterative integration among sectors and stakeholders enabled by transdisciplinary methodologies. The event is a call for action to consider how environmental change linked to development strategies strongly influence health and wellbeing. The contribution of pollution and toxic chemicals to chronic disease mortality and morbidity is well known. However, the event is timely because it remains much less understood how environmental degradation (in the form of the loss of ecosystem integrity) contributes to increased vulnerability to both NCDs and infectious diseases (IDs), so-called dual burden. Synergies are increasingly being found to exist between these environmental and health challenges, psychosocial stress, and reduced social-ecological system resilience, which, in turn, contributes to vulnerability to NCD and IDs. Panelists will present scientific evidence, case examples and novel intervention protocols based on the SESR framework, outlining how these can be used to shape adaptive health governance. This event complements the discussions related to PMAC 2019, as it addresses:  System Approaches to Address the Political Economy of NCDs
; and  Critical Challenges for Governance of NCDs.


Convening key organizations and stakeholders at the regional level, this meeting addresses the root causes of NCDs and it will show the intrinsic connection between planetary health and public health solutions in the 21st Century. By examining and making scientific knowledge relevant to the policy world, it is expected to enable change and new partnerships in the fast-growing Southeast Asia region.