HRH Prince Charles addresses the 35th Annual Plenary Meeting in Beijing

At the 35th InterAction Council Plenary meeting in China, the IAC members were inspired by a video by HRH, The Prince of Wales, who welcomed the important role that China can play on advancing ecological civilizations, and the imperative of operating globally to draw upon what we already know, in order to prevent the rapid destruction of ecosystems and to maintain the essential boundaries of a healthy planet.

During the course of the meeting, many of the leaders reflected on the growing sense of urgency voiced at the UN General Assembly, on the speed and scale that is now required to prevent the escalation of climate change, along with its negative impacts upon global conflict, migration as well as our own future well-being.

The InterAction Council initiated efforts to spur collaborative action on global health at the Annual Plenary Meeting in Wales in 2015. From the start, the Council sought to foster a comprehensive approach to global health. In 2016, at its Annual Plenary Meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, the Council noted that all of the Sustainable Development Goals relate to health in one way or another and that the 2015 Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission report on planetary health had called for recognizing a wider concept of what it means to safeguard human health in the Anthropocene epoch. Therefore, the Council recommended engagement with communities around the world to persuade them to adopt similar national, regional, and local approaches. The Well-Being of Future Generations Act in Wales is a successful example.

The Chairman’s Report on the High-Level Expert Group meeting in Guiyang, China, in 2016 noted that the Sustainable Development Goal for global health (to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”) can only be achieved if the concept on planetary health is broadened and adopted. This concept should include the health impacts of the Water, Energy, Health, Agriculture, and Biodiversity-nexus (WEHAB nexus). The group called for the establishment of “A Global Learning Network for One Health for People’s Well-being and Planetary Health” to share ideas, best practices, social and community systems in implementing the concept of “One Health for People’s Well-being and Planetary Health.”

At its Annual Plenary Meeting in Dublin in 2017, the Council approved the Dublin Charter for One Health. The Charter builds on the universal responsibility of all individuals to preserve the planet for future generations, as provided for in the draft Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities. The Charter places a duty on health professionals; public health practitioners; politicians and policymakers; international civil servants working across the U.N. and its development agencies; academics; and the wider public, to develop and implement policies and practices to protect planetary health.