Reports and briefing materials


This page provides details of reports and publications from the COHAB Initiative Secretariat, COHAB Partners and other organisations. Suggestions for inclusion on this list should be emailed to the Secretariat at

Recent documents
Some recent reports and information from international agencies, governments or NGOs on relevant issues.

Our Planet, Our Health, Our Future

A discussion document released for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro, June 2012.  Issued jointly by the World Health Organisation and the Secretariats of the three Rio conventions (the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Convention to Combat Desertification).

Looks at the connections between global health issues and global environmental change in the context of the Rio Conventions.


Report of the 2011 Belgian Biodiversity - Public Health Conference

This conference, organized by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform, took place in November 2011, bringing together over 80 experts: natural and social scientists, policy-makers, practitioners and other stakeholders. The report is available from the conference website.

COHAB Initiative Policy Briefs

Briefs prepared for CBD COP10, Nagoya, Japan, October 2010 (pdf files)

1. The importance of biodiversity to human health

2. Global health and global ecosystem change

3. The health effects of climate change impactson biodiversity

4. Linking health and biodiversity in policy and practice

COHAB Initiative reports


COHAB 2005, First International Conference on Health and Biodiversity

A summary of the main conclusions of the first COHAB conference, held in Ireland in 2005, which led to the development of the COHAB Initiative.

COHAB 2, Second International Conference on Health and Biodiversity - summary report

Conclusions and recommendations of the second COHAB conference, held in Ireland in 2008.

Input to Ireland's National Biodiversity Plan

Submission of the COHAB Initiative Secretariat to the Irish Government (Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government) in 2008, ahead of the revision of Ireland's National Biodiversity Plan (due to be published during 2009, delayed till 2011).

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

Documents and Decisions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) and the Conference of the Parties (COP) referring specifically to health, to the COHAB Initiative, or related processes:

CBD COP10 (Nagoya, Japan, 2010):

Decision X/20; Co-operation with other conventions and international organisations and initiatives

CBD Secretariat report on progress on Decision IX/27; Cooperation with other conventions and international organisations and initiatives


CBD COP9 (Bonn, Germany, 2008):

Decision IX/27; Cooperation among multilateral environmental agreements and other organisations

CBD COP8 (Curitiba, Brazil, 2006):

Decision VIII/23; Agricultural Biodiversity

SBSTTA Report on the International Consultation on Indicators for Biodiversity Used in Food and Medicine

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

Copies of all reports of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), including full text of the main reports, syntheses and statements, can be freely downloaded directly from the MA website. Links to some key reports and chapters of relevance to the work of the COHAB Initiative are provided here:

Health Synthesis Report:

Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Health Synthesis Report

Ecosystems and Health: some findings of the MA

      A 2-page summary of the health synthesis

Human Health Under Threat from Ecosystem Degradation

      World Health Organisation media release

Full Report - Current State and Trends Assessment:

Ch. 5: Ecosystem Change and Human Well-being

Ch. 6: Vulnerable People and Places

Ch. 8: Food Ecosystem Services

Ch. 11: Biological Regulation of Ecosystem Services

 Ch. 14: Human Infectious Disease Agents

Ch. 15: Waste Processing and Detoxification

Ch. 16: Regulation of Natural Hazards

Other reports and publications

Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity.

"Sustaining Life", published by Oxford University Press in 2008, is the product of a major 5 year collaborative project spearheaded by Dr. Eric Chivian and Dr. Aaron Bernstein at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. Dr. Chivian was one of the key people behind the first COHAB conference in Ireland in 2005, and the Sustaining Life project has been an important inspiration and driver for setting up the COHAB Initiative.

The book is co-sponsored by UNEP, UNDP, IUCN and the CBD Secretariat. It includes contributions from over 100 leading scientists, exploring the ways in which biodiversity and ecosystem services sustain life on Earth, and highlighting the risks which biodiversity loss poses to human health and development.

An overview of the book can be found on the UNDP's website. A video of a discussion with Eric Chivian about the book, which took place at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars in Washington DC, in January 2009, can be watched here. Click here to see a promotional flyer about the book. See the website of the Center for Health and the Global Environment for further information.


IUCN's World Conservation magazine - special issue on Health and Environment

World Conservation Magazine is is the quarterly publication of the IUCN. Vol. 39 (2009) included a special issue titled: Life Support: Human Health and the Environment. This excellent magazine includes contributions from a number of COHAB Initiative partners including Dr. Eric Chivian of the Centre for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Billy Karesh and Dr. Steve Osofsky of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Dr. Kalemani Jo Mulongoy of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and Dr. Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum of the World Health Organisation. The issue highlights the importance of biodiversity to the sustainability of essential ecosystem services, with articles on drug discovery, climate change, and policy initiatives linking health and biodiversity at the global level.


IUCN's Species magazine (magazine of the Species Survival Commission) - article on pharmaceuticals in the environment (Kock, RA (2010) The Pill and the Sacred Cow: current areas of concern with pharmaceuticals and the environment. Species 51;pp5-7)


COHAB Initiative staff articles
Some publications and papers with contributions from COHAB Secretariat staff:
> Bullock, C., Kretsch, C. and Candon, E. (2008). Social and Economic Aspects of Biodiversity in Ireland. Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dublin.

> Parviainen J., Furu P., Kretsch C. (2010). Tools for Assessing Human Health Dimensions in Forests. Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen (Swiss Forestry Journal).

> Smith, M., Hargroves, K. and Kretsch, C. (2010) ‘Decoupling economic growth from loss of biodiversity and the deterioration of natural systems’, in Smith, M. and Hargroves, K. (2010) Cents and Sustainability: Decoupling Economic Growth from Environmental Pressure, Earthscan, London

> Golf Environment Organisation (2011) Sustainable Golf Development - Creating a positive legacy. GEO, Berwick, Scotland. Input from COHAB Initiative on conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services and links to community well-being.  
> Keune, H., Kretsch, C., De Blust, G., et al (2013). Science–policy challenges for biodiversity, public health and urbanization: examples from Belgium. Environmental Research Letters 8 025015  

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