The Collaboration

Rapid change is a constant feature of our times, requiring societies the world over to contend with multiple and simultaneous challenges (e.g. climate variability, extreme weather events, rapid urbanization, economic instability, movement of people and goods and deteriorating ecosystems). This often creates deeper gaps and inequalities between various social groups with regards to their health and well-being.

In striving for a healthier, more equitable and sustainable world, we often act as if development was something other than the messy social process of managing ever-changing and often unpredictable interactions between people and the ecosystems. New approaches to research, policy, practice and training are needed that cut across disciplines and sectors. Ecosystem approaches to health have emerged in response to this need.

This collaboration was created by members of the Communities of Practice in Ecosystem Approaches to Health (CoPEH) in Latin America and the Caribbean (CoPEH-LAC) and in Canada (CoPEH-Canada). EkoSanté was formalised in 2013 after receiving financial support from the International Development Research Center of Canada (IDRC).

Informed by experience with ecosystem approaches to health, the collaboration aims to improve strategies, methods and means for influencing and guiding intersectoral policies and practices that enhance ecosystem sustainability, social and gender equity and public health. A research and capacity building program is being developed and implemented over a four-year period. The program is comprised of training awards, intensive summer schools, professional development workshops, research fellowships and multi-stakeholder dialogue sessions.

The main objectives of EkoSanté are:

Pathways to change

To deepen both applied and theoretical knowledge on how ecohealth research informs intersectoral policies and practices relevant to health, ecosystems and society.

Learning and training

To increase capacity of policy makers, practitioners and researchers to address the theoretical and methodological challenges of understanding, communicating and responding to complex problems at the nexus of health, ecosystems and society.

Network resilience and sustainability

To promote the exchange of knowledge, the continuity and longevity of the CoPEHs and ecosystem approaches to health in the Americas through the maintenance and expansion of alliances with other groups sharing similar goals.