Flagship Report

Healthy living on a healthy planet

Our lifestyle is making us ill and is destroying the natural life-support systems. In the vision of ‘healthy living on a healthy planet’, human spheres of life – what we eat, how we move, where we live – are designed to be both healthy and environmentally compatible, and planetary risks – climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution – have been overcome.


The vision of healthy living on a healthy planet focuses on the inseparability of human health and nature, and thus on an extended understanding of health. The World Health Organization’s comprehensive definition of human health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” is dependent on a ‘healthy’ Earth – with functioning, resilient and productive ecosystems and a stable climate.

In essence, the goal is to explore and implement development paths that do justice to people and nature. It is about healthy lifestyles that simultaneously protect nature – about what we eat, how we move and where we live. It is about framework conditions that make these lifestyles possible. It is about preserving natural life-support systems (halting climate change, biodiversity loss and global pollution), preparing our health systems for the challenges ahead and harnessing their transformative potential. It is about education and science that can make the vision of healthy living on a healthy planet a reality. And finally, it is about reaching an agreement on this guiding principle at the international level, because without international cooperation, this vision cannot be achieved.

More on the Subject

Voices to this Report

"Healthy Living on a Healthy Planet" is a critical and timely synthesis of priority transformations needed in governance, research, planning, and education at all scales, to promote the health and well-being of every individual, today and in the future, while simultaneously healing the damage from and preventing further climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. Focusing on health promotion and equity can facilitate rediscovering the intrinsic interconnectedness of all life on earth; and promote effective approaches to increase the resilience and sustainability of people and nature.

Kristie L. Ebi, Professor, Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE)
University of Washington, USA

It is becoming increasingly urgent to promote an integrated view of the close link between the environment and global health. We can no longer afford to think and treat these policy areas, which are central to our future, separately. The WBGU flagship report comes at the right time and offers real added value - on the one hand through a clear analyses of the challenges and on the other hand through concrete proposals for rethinking global health governance. Now it is time to act.

Prof. Dr. Ilona Kickbusch, Director, Digital Transformation of Health LAB, University of Geneva; Founder, Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute, Geneva; Chair, World Health Summit