This commentary examines the concept of planetary health as an approach to public health that highlights the inextricable linkage between human health and the state of surrounding natural systems. With concurring natural hazards further stretching national and regional capacities and resources in the region over the past two years, ASEAN have deliberated and assessed necessary changes and reforms to prepare itself better for natural hazards in the future. Within this shift, planetary health is gaining momentum, increasingly appearing as an agenda item in international and regional forums.
This commentary highlights the relevance of planetary health to disaster governance. First, a public health crisis can create barriers in disaster relief and prolong recovery periods. Experiences from disaster relief efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic suggest that an effective response to concurring natural hazards requires better coordination and collaboration between different sectors. Second, planetary health provides a useful framework to assess the links between the health of natural systems and human activities. Nevertheless, challenges still remain in the journey towards the adoption of planetary health in government policies.