The Lancet: Air travel for global health: flying in the face of sustainable development? (6)

25 December, 2019

Hi Neil and colleagues

Thanks for raising this important issue. Is anyone aware of institutions that have policies for minimising air travel so as to reduce the institution’s carbon footprint? If so, it would be great to have links to these so that we can take up this issue in our own institutions.

I am certainly one of those who is using air travel too much. For the recent Symposium on using qualitative evidence to inform decision making for the SDGs, held in Brasilia in October, we combined the face-to-face Symposium of about 160 people with an online virtual Symposium, for which over 600 people registered. In addition, colleagues organised about 6 satellite sessions at their own institutions across 3 continents during or after the Brasilia Symposium. These were both really useful ways of involving a larger group of people while also reducing air travel, and we should perhaps be doing much of this and much less air travel. You can find more information on the Symposium, including webcasts and podcasts here:

Best wishes


HIFA profile: Simon Lewin is a health systems researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Medical Research Council of South Africa ( His work is mainly in the field of implementation research, including systematic reviews of health systems interventions; the development and evaluation of strategies for changing professional and user behaviours and the organization of care; and the use of lay or community health workers to deliver care. He is an editor for the Cochrane Consumers and Communication Review Group and the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Review Group. He is a member of the HIFA working group on CHWs:

Email: simon.lewin AT