Transformative Changes

for Biodiversity and Health

An Alternet Conference in Ghent, Belgium

14 – 17 June 2022

Changes in land and sea use, overexploitation, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species mean that nature is rapidly disappearing, posing significant challenges to human and ecosystem health. Nature is as important to our mental and physical well-being as it is to our society’s ability to cope with global change, health threats and disasters. Protecting and restoring biodiversity and functioning ecosystems is therefore essential to building our resilience. The call for transformative change is an absolute necessity to halt and eventually overcome the biodiversity and climate crisis. This is now recognised and integrated into many member states and EU’s biodiversity strategies, as well as at the global level by IPBES and the CBD. 

Where and why do the benefits of biodiversity for ecological and human health arise and how can they be achieved? How and where can transformative change enable these benefits, including ensuring justice and equity?  How can human-nature health solutions be developed? How can the adoption of these transformative biodiversity and human health solutions by society and communities be achieved, for example by transforming food systems?

The Alternet 2022 conference aims to address these questions by focusing on what interdisciplinary biodiversity research can contribute to the transformative change agenda in biodiversity and health. It will offer new perspectives on research and policy as well as practice, highlight information needs and develop partnerships to advance our knowledge on biodiversity and health. 

Given the breadth and depth of current and impending crises and the links between human health and biodiversity, it is time for a radical transformation of socio-ecological structures towards a vision of sustainability and resilience – one that enhances the well-being of humans and the biosphere as a whole. Mobilising scientific research, interdisciplinarity and co-construction with stakeholders and decision-makers is the way forward.

Alternet bridges disciplines and connects science and policy to the challenges of societal sustainability because we believe that the greatest innovation for societal impact can be achieved by science through unusual collaborations in practice.

Who attended this event?

Contributors and attendees included researchers, scientists, decision-makers, and practitioners of all disciplines, including key personnel from Europe’s science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services. 




Session 1

Session 2

Session 3a

Session 3b

Session 3c

Session 4

Session 5

Session 6

Session 7

Session 8

Session 9

Session 10

Programme and Speakers

Keynote speakers:

Peter Bridgewater (University of Canberra): Having a whale of a time with transformative change.
Serge Morand (CNRS – CIRAD, France): The links between biodiversity, health and epidemics.
Nicolas Dendoncker (Department of Geography, Transitions Institute, University of Namur, Belgium): Transforming food systems and rural areas.
Heidi Wittmer (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ) and Jiska van Dijk (NINA): Aspirations versus reality in Transformative Change.
Eeva Furman (Finnish Environment Institute – SYKE): BioAgora.
Hilde Eggermont (Affiliate at Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Coordinator & Chair of the European Biodiversity Partnership – Biodiversa+): Biodiversa+ (The European Biodiversity Partnership):
Strengthening the Knowledge Foundations for Societal Transformation.

Practical Info

Location: Augustinian Monastery – Ghent, Belgium

Date and Time: 12:00, 14 June – 12:00, 17 June 2022


Augustijnenklooster St-Stefanus
Academiestraat 1
9000 Gent

Hotel & Accommodation Recommendations

Travel Tips

It takes approximately 30 minutes to travel to Ghent from Brussels by train–over a distance of around 30 miles (49 km). There are normally 79 trains per day traveling from Ghent to Brussels and tickets for this journey start from €11.20 when you book in advance.