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Home > Resources > ecoHEALTH publication: Keune et al., 2013, Environmental Research Letters 8(2)

ecoHEALTH publication: Keune et al., 2013, Environmental Research Letters 8(2)

Science-policy challenges for biodiversity, public health and urbanization: examples from Belgium

This publication was prepared in coordination with the Belgian Biodiversity Platform, which is the DIVERSITAS National Committee in Belgium, and highlights the outcome of the first Belgian Biodiversity and Public Health Conference 2011.


Abstract:

Internationally, the importance of a coordinated effort to protect both biodiversity and public health is more and more recognized. These issues are often concentrated or particularly challenging in urban areas, and therefore on-going urbanization worldwide raises particular issues both for the conservation of living natural resources and for population health strategies.

These challenges include significant difficulties associated with sustainable management of urban ecosystems, urban development planning, social cohesion and public health. An important element of the challenge is the need to interface between different forms of knowledge and different actors from science and policy. We illustrate this with examples from Belgium, showcasing concrete cases of human–nature interaction. To better tackle these challenges, since 2011, actors in science, policy and the broader Belgian society have launched a number of initiatives to deal in a more integrated manner with combined biodiversity and public health challenges in the face of ongoing urbanization.

This emerging community of practice in Belgium exemplifies the importance of interfacing at different levels. (1) Bridges must be built between science and the complex biodiversity/ecosystem–human/public health–urbanization phenomena. (2) Bridges between different professional communities and disciplines are urgently needed. (3) Closer collaboration between science and policy, and between science and societal practice is needed. Moreover, within each of these communities closer collaboration between specialized sections is needed.

Full reference : Keune H, Kretsch C, De Blust G, Gilbert M, Flandroy L, Van den Berge K, Versteirt V, Hartig T, De Keersmaecker L, Eggermont H, Brosens D, Dessein J, Vanwambeke S, Prieur-Richard A-H, Wittmer H, Van Herzele A, Linard C, Martens P, Mathijs E, Simoens I, Van Damme P, Volckaert F, Heyman P and Bauler T. 2013. Science-policy challenges for biodiversity, public health and urbanization: examples from Belgium. Environmental Research Letters. 8(2):025015 (19p.)

Read the full publication online.

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