Promoting Planetary Health and Sustainable Development for All

The 23rd IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion was held on 7 -11 April in Energy Event Centre, Rotorua, New Zealand. The theme of the conference was “Promoting Planetary Health and Sustainable Development for All”,  with the aim to provide an unparalleled opportunity to link and demonstrate the contribution of health promotion to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to acknowledge the way SDGs contribute to improvements in health and wellbeing.  The conference was attended by 1,200 delegates from 73 countries.

The delegates were health promoters of all horizons (researchers, practitioners and decision makers) and their partners from all relevant sectors to embrace the planetary health agenda and explore how health promotion contributed to:

  1. Ensure health equity throughout
    the life course, within and among countries, making each member of the global
    society an empowered lifelong learner
  2. Make all urban and other
    habitats inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and conducive to health and
  3. Design and implement effective
    and fair climate change adaptation strategies
  4. Build effective, accountable
    and inclusive governance at all levels that promotes, peace, justice and
    respect of human rights

I was privileged to attend the conference with the financial support from the Centre of Clinical Epidemiology and Evidence-Based Medicine, Department of Social & Preventive Medicine.  I made an oral presentation entitled “Is the Malaysian Diet sustainable ? ”.  A sustainable diet which is healthy and environmental friendly (with low greenhouse gas emission) is a climate change mitigation option with an advantage of requiring relatively little investment in technology or infrastructure.   The Malaysian diet is found to have a low environmental impact as our population takes a small quantity of beef and milk (which produce high greenhouse gas).  On the other hand, our population had a high consumption of fish which is good for health, but may compromise the SDG on “Responsible Consumption & Production”.  If no actions are taken on controlling the amount of fish consumed, the sustainability of fish stock supply for the future generations may be challenged.  Measures in educating the public regarding sustainable fish source and types should be taken, as recommended by WWF. 

Prepared by Associate Professor Moy Foong Ming

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