Public health for the future of humanity: analysis, advocacy, and action
We will be meeting at a critical time for our planet. Global temperatures lie far beyond historical records and there are real fears that we are reaching a tipping point. Threats to food and water supply, poverty and inequalities are leading to mass migration and conflict. Political structures, at national, regional, and global level, are struggling to respond. International agreements, on climate change, nuclear weapons, and much else, are being torn up. The Enlightenment view, that policy should be shaped by evidence, is being rejected by some leading politicians. At a time when global solidarity is required, populist politicians are exploiting divisions.
Rome, the setting for our Congress, serves as a reminder that continued progress is not inevitable. A Roman citizen, standing in the forum 2000 years ago, could never have imagined that the society that they observed, with its culture and technological achievement, would be swept away within a few hundred years.
The theme of the Congress, Public Health for the Future of Humanity: Analysis, Advocacy, and Action, reflects our firm commitment that we, in the global public health community, have an obligation to respond to these new circumstances. We must make visible the threats to health, some of which are already emerging. We must challenge and hold to account those with the power to make a difference. And we must act, making real our commitment to health in all policies.
We, as public health community, have much to contribute and much to learn. As always, we will have many opportunities to share ideas among ourselves, but this year we can enrich our experiences even further, bringing a global perspective to our thinking. We look forward to seeing you in Rome.