Newsletter - February 2019 Edition

1 | Natuur op verwijzing network event - outputs available 

More than 170 participants made the nature and health network event "Natuur op verwijzing" a big success. The event took place in Antwerp on 4 October 2018. Outputs such as videos, presentations, photos and reports are all available on the Biodiversity & Health website

The event was the conclusion of the project Light on Green and was part of the Chair Care and Natural Living Environment. It was also a follow-up to the European OneHealth/EcoHealth workshop (Belgian Community of Practice Biodiversity and Health, 2016).
The main objective of the event was to promote cooperation. Cooperation between the health and nature sectors as well as with other sectors. Collaboration on nature & health within these sectors. The programme included lectures by scientists and policy makers, thematic workshops and a market where all kinds of initiatives (from research, policy and practice) could be imagined.

For more information, please contact Hans Keune, coordinator of the Biodiversity & Health community.
2 | Belgium proposes an IPBES Assessment on Biodiversity and Health  

In 2018, the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) launched a call for requests, inputs and suggestions for its future work programme.

Belgium, in line with what NEOH (Network for Evaluation of One Health) prepared, proposed a assessment on nature/biodiversity - human health linkages, based on an integrated One Health approach. The future work program of IPBES will be approved at the next plenary session early May, in Paris.

More information here, or contact Hilde Eggermont, coordinator of the IPBES Belgian Focal Point.
3 | Province of Antwerp Nature and health promotion video

Worldwide there is growing interest in the theme of nature and health, both in research, policy and practice. More and more evidence is being gathered that nature has positive effects on our physical and mental health.

Therefore, the Province of Antwerp launched a dedicated Nature and health information webpage (in Dutch) including a promotion video. 

For more information, please contact Lieve Janssens, Policy-Nature Advisor at the Province of Antwerp.
4 | Revitalise in Nature before a burn-out

In recent years, numerous studies have proven the positive effect of nature on both your physical and mental health. In busy times nature helps you to recover from stress and promotes your attention.

In order to put this insight into practice, the National Park Hoge Kempen is setting up a research project together with the University of Hasselt on resourcing in nature as (additional) treatment for people with the threat of burn-out.

The research focuses on people with stress-related complaints such as tension headaches, irritability, sleeping problems, hyperventilation,...who are present for less than 3 months. They are currently looking for general practitioners who would like to help realize this project by recruiting participants.

More information here (in dutch).
5 | NEOH Integrated approaches to health book freely available

This handbook is the product of an interdisciplinary effort by NEOH (Network for Evaluation of One Health) to provide science-based guidance for the evaluation of One Health and other integrated approaches to health. It guides the reader through a systems approach and framework to evaluate such approaches in a standardised way. It provides an overview of concepts and metrics from health and life sciences, social sciences, economics, and ecology that are relevant for the evaluation of the processes involved, as well as the characterisation of expected and unexpected outcomes of One Health initiatives.

Finally, the handbook provides guidance and practical protocols to help plan and implement evaluations in order to generate new insights and provide meaningful information about the value of One Health. The handbook is intended for practitioners, researchers, evaluators as well as funders of integrated approaches to health and beyond.

Download the handbook here.
6 | Biodiversity and Health in the Face of Climate Change conference proceedings online

The conference was jointly organized by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the European Network of Heads of Nature Conservation Agencies (ENCA) in co-operation with the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) / German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv). The event was co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe.

The conference proceedings as well as the conference documentation are available here.
7 | "3 questions to" Frank Koenen, Operational Director at Sciensano
1. How is the relation between nature & human health part of your work/activities? 

As coordinator of One Health in Sciensano a scientific research institute on public and veterinary health, the link with nature and human health is very important. However the environment is not a federal competence we seek for collaboration in order to handle the subjects in a One Health perspective. For example on anti microbial resistance (AMR) we want to include the role of the environment in the resistance. Animal health is covered by several services of Sciensano.

2. How important is collaboration between different groups in networks like the Belgian Community of Practice Biodiversity & Health?

We fully support the statement on the Community of Practice on Biodiversity & Health website: “To better integrate biodiversity and health in research, policy and practice, the adoption of inter- and transdisciplinary approaches that incorporate contributions from both the social and natural sciences, and from policy and practice is needed. One Health is one of the approaches that aims to bridge human health and the health of other species or ecosystems to address complex challenges faced by the global health and environmental communities.”

We intent to achieve this by creating an internal platform of experts and in collaboration with the federal services an external platform with experts and professionals. In these external platforms, early signal detection and exchange of data will be very important. The outcome from these external platforms can be immediately confirmed by Sciensano’s reference laboratories. This can result to a quicker action and more solid reports and advices.


3. Where would you like the work on nature - health linkages to be in a few years?

The newly created Sciensano aims to be the scientific partner for One Health surveillance and will support the authorities in scientific risk assessment and surveillance. In our field of interest we would like an holistic One Health approach on AMR, Food born infections, zoonosis, vector borne diseases and risk assessment of mixed exposure.

© 2019 Belgian Biodiversity Platform, All rights reserved.

“Biodiversity & Health Newsletter” is published whenever the need arises to inform the Belgian and international community on new developments in OneHealth and EcoHealth research, practice and policy-making.

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