In recent years, and with growing intensity since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the concept of environmental health has emerged as a fundamental prism through which to analyse the complex interplay between global health and environmental law. Environmental risks, ranging from soil, water and air pollution to waste management and land use change, are now estimated to contribute to one quarter of the global disease burden, amounting to at least 13 million deaths per year according to assessments conducted by the World Health Organization (1).
Debates proliferate in multilateral fora ranging from the World Health Assembly to the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, covering aspects including the environmental determinants of health, the social-ecological dynamics of infectious disease emergence, and the direct and indirect health benefits arising from the fight against environmental degradation. As a consequence, the need to harness synergies between these two areas of global policy-making also becomes more urgent.
For this reason, I was especially happy to join Prof Riccardo Pavoni as a co-author for a chapter in the upcoming volume ‘Environmental Health in International and EU Law‘, edited by Prof Stefania Negri. The chapter particularly deals with the health impacts of current European legislation in the field of biodiversity, and the possibility for a more effective integration of human health and well-being within its provisions. It addresses the progressive incorporation of health considerations in the Habitats and Birds directives and in the Invasive Alien Species regulation, the use of health-related arguments in the biodiversity jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union, and the linkage between environment and health in the application of the precautionary principle.
The volume, which will be published by Routledge in its ‘Routledge-Giappichelli Studies in Law‘ series at the end of the year, is now available for pre-order at this link.
(1) The WHO estimate is based on the following assessments: Prüss-Üstün A, Corvalán C. Preventing disease through healthy environments: towards an estimate of the environmental burden of disease. Geneva: World Health Organization 2006; and Prüss-Üstün A, Wolf J, Cornavalán CF, Bos R, Neira MP. Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks. Geneva: World Health Organization: 2016.