2023 Summer/Winter School – Ocean and human health: transitioning and transforming to an era of interdisciplinary competencies.

Date and Time: MONDAY 11 SEPTEMBER 2023, 9am-10.30am CEST



A healthy ocean, from coastal waters to remote high seas and deep seabed areas, is integral to human health, wellbeing, and survival (Jenkins et. al., 2023). Despite its critical role in human health and wellbeing, the ocean is under threat from climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss. Although more is known about areas that are near the coast, the seabed beyond national jurisdiction and the high seas, comprising 64% of the surface of the ocean and nearly 95% of its volume, are critical to both ecosystem and human health. However, much of the work done on the relationship between ocean and human health has been siloed, which has resulted in narrow perceptions of inter-relationships, limited information, and relatively unexplored aspects of both areas. There are, therefore, critical knowledge gaps for those seeking to develop effective policies for the sustainable use of marine resources and the protection of the human right to health. 

This panel will represent a diversity of experiences and perspectives, from a diverse range of disciplines, spanning ocean science, human rights, planetary health and health law, to illuminate barriers and progress to marrying the two disciplines. 

The key messages from panellists and participants will be fed into: 

  • the work of the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights & the Environment and Human Rights & Climate Change 
  • the UN guidance on economic, social and cultural rights and sustainable development 
  • the anticipated implementation of the agreement on conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ agreement) 
  • the development of a pandemic treaty by the World Health Organization (WHO) 
  • work on the nexus between the ocean and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.  


Prof Mat Upton, One Ocean Hub and University of Plymouth – Why does global health depend on the ocean?

Dr Alana Lancaster, One Ocean Hub and University of the West Indies, Barbados– The human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment in the context of the ocean.

Prof Elisa Morgera, One Ocean Hub and University of Strathclyde, UKInterconnections between the deep seabed and the high seas and human health .

Dr Stephanie Switzer, University of Strathclyde, UK – The interlinkages between equity in the context of the ocean and global health in the case of the WHO’s pandemic treaty.


Journal articles

Hamley, G. (2022). The implications of seabed mining in the Area for the human right to health. Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law (RECIEL) https://doi.org/10.1111/reel.12471

Jenkis AP, Lancaster AMSN, Capon A, Soapi K, Fleming LE, Jupiter SD. (2023), “Human health depends on thriving oceans.” The Lancet Vol 402:  10395, pp. 9-11, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(23)01162-5.

Morgera E and Hannah L. (2022). “Public participation at the International Seabed Authority: An international human rights law analysis.” Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law (RECIEL). https://doi.org/10.1111/reel.12472

Hamley G and Switzer S, Plastics and (The Right to) Health (May 22, 2023). Edward Elgar Research Handbook on Plastics, Forthcoming , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4455472

Policy brief

Hamley G and Switzer S, “Embedding the right to health within international negotiations on plastics,” https://oneoceanhub.org/publications/embedding-the-right-to-health-within-international-negotiations-on-plastics/


Lavelle and Wynberg R with contributions from Whittingham J (2022). Report: “Marine Biodiscovery in South Africa” Science, conservation, governance and equity. One Ocean Hub and University of Cape Town. Pp. 64. Available from https://oneoceanhub.org/publications/marine-biodiscovery-in-south-africa-science-conservation-governance-and-equity/


Conlan R and Febrica S, Exploring the links between One Health, the ocean and climate change, 2022. Available from https://oneoceanhub.org/exploring-the-links-between-one-health-the-ocean-and-climate-change/

Lajaunie C, “Connecting the One Health approach to the ocean-climate nexus,” 2022. Available from https://oneoceanhub.org/exploring-the-links-between-one-health-the-ocean-and-climate-change/

Lavelle J, “New study on inclusive and equitable research and innovation in marine biodiscovery,”2021. Available from https://oneoceanhub.org/new-study-on-inclusive-and-equitable-research-and-innovation-in-marine-biodiscovery/.

Lavelle, J, “Towards a community of practice for equitabel and sustainable marine biodiscovery in South Africa.” Available from https://oneoceanhub.org/towards-a-community-of-practice-for-equitable-and-sustainable-marine-biodiscovery-in-south-africa/.

Wynberg R, Dorrington R, Upton, M; Sink K, “Biodiscovery: Exploring the Science-Policy Interface in the One Ocean Hub,” 2020. Available from https://oneoceanhub.org/biodiscovery-exploring-the-science-policy-interface-in-the-one-ocean-hub