Zedillo to chair new Economic Council on Planetary Health

Ernesto Zedillo, the Frederick Iseman ’74 Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, will chair the newly established Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health.

Ernesto Zedillo

The newly emerging field of planetary health explores the link between human health and the natural systems on which it depends. The council, headquartered at the Oxford Mart School at Oxford University, will bring together global experts who will work over the next 18 months to provide leaders and policymakers with economic data for protecting human health by preserving the Earth’s natural systems.

In a 2015 report in The Lancet, the Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on planetary health detailed the ways in which the degradation of natural systems harms the health of individuals, families, and communities around the world.

“The scientific evidence of The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on planetary health made it clear that when we compromise the environment, we compromise human health,” said Zedillo, a former president of Mexico who now serves on the Yale faculty. “It is a fascinating paradox: the very economic growth that allowed human health to improve and people to live longer is actually harming our physical well-being. We need to turn this around, and we can. I firmly believe that prosperity and good health should go hand-in-hand, and the council will chart a course for doing so, mindful that we have only one earth.”

Other members of the council include leaders from Norway, Mozambique, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the United Nations; the president of the Nature Conservancy; and noted economists.

Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation and former Yale provost, said, “The Economic Council will bridge knowledge gaps on the links among economic development, natural systems, and human health to compel collaboration across disciplines and coordinated action to address the complex challenges of the 21st century.”

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