Co-hosted by the Canadian Community of Practice in EcoHealth (CoPEH-Canada) and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Well-Being, Health, Society and Environment (Cinbiose) of the Université du Québec at Montréal (UQAM). EcoHealth 2014 will be held in Montréal from August 11th to 15th, 2014.
Ecohealth is a field that strives for "sustainable health of people, wildlife and ecosystems by promoting discovery, understanding and transdisciplinarity" (IAEH). The growth in interest and scholarly engagement with ecohealth is demonstrated by the strong communities of practice, groups and networks that have developed, by institutional uptake by large organizations such as the Pan-American Health Organization and through the continued development of the EcoHealth journal and International Association of Ecology & Health (IAEH).
EcoHealth 2014 is the fifth international conference organized under the auspices of the IAEH. Previous biennial conferences were held in Wisconsin (2006), Mérida (2008), London (2010) and Kunming (2012).
A precursor to these conferences was the Forum on Ecosystem Approaches to Human Health organized by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and its partners and held in Montréal in 2003. The goal of this Forum was to provide a platform for a discussion of ecosystem approaches to human health, evidence from the field, and the relevance of these approaches to improving health and well-being.
Complex challenges continue to emerge at the intersection of ecosystems, society and the health of humans, animals and other species. In an effort to bring sustainable and integrated responses to these challenges, various practices and approaches have emerged, with names such as ecology and health, ecosystem approaches to human health, One Health, socioecological thinking, resilience thinking, healthy settings (Healthy Cities, Healthy Parks – Healthy People), ecological economics, "future earth" or environmental justice.
One of the goals of the EcoHealth 2014 Conference is to acknowledge the diversity within the field of ecohealth. Additionally, the conference is designed to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and relationship-building between these ideas and the groups that support them. As a result, the theme for EcoHealth 2014 is Connections for health, ecosystems and society. These connections are critical for the development of the field of ecohealth as well as to an international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral conversation about environment (natural and social), health and equity.
EcoHealth conferences are characterized by being open to innovative ways of thinking within and beyond academia and by encouraging transdisciplinary, integrated approaches to health that consider humans, animals and other species. For researchers, educators, practitioners and decision-makers, EcoHealth conferences provide a range of opportunities to foster connections among diverse disciplines and approaches.
For EcoHealth 2014, the central theme of Connections for health, ecosystems and society reinforces the importance of connections and learning among the various approaches and perspectives that compose the mosaic of the field, and encourages involvement of collaborators from outside of academia to participate actively in the conference. We hope the conference will help build new connections between groups and individuals working to find solutions to the complex array of problems emerging at the confluence of health, environment and society.
Three main themes have been put forward for EcoHealth 2014 Conference: