The Environmental Physiotherapy Agenda 2023 (EPT Agenda 2023) is a global call to action built around a single aim relevant to physical therapy or physiotherapy education (1). This aim of the agenda is: To ensure that every student beginning entry-level physiotherapy education from 2020 onwards will have education regarding the relationship between the environment, human health and functioning, and how this pertains to physiotherapy as part of their programme.
Current international agendas like the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the EU Green Deal, and extensive research across healthcare are highlighting the inextricable relationship between the environment, human health and functioning, as well as the urgent need for decisive, corresponding action across all sectors of society (EC, 2019; Haines & Scheelbeek, 2020; Myers, 2017; Roe, 2019; UN, 2015). Firmly aligning with these calls to action and the extensive evidence in their support, the purpose of the EPT Agenda 2023 is to elicit a strong commitment to immediate action across the physiotherapy profession in light of the largest health threat that humanity has faced to date (Watts et al., 2019).
We believe that integrating environmental and sustainability perspectives into entry-level physiotherapy education is the single most effective action we can take as a profession at this moment to ensure a maximum contribution to planetary health, both now and in the future.
Within future uncertainty, we discover hope driving to action, support advocacy and applaudall we share this commitment. Resonating with the recent EU Green Deal, we believe that the physiotherapy profession is exceptionally well placed to turn this ‘urgent challenge into a unique opportunity’ and provide considerable help in the global efforts to ‘protect the health and wellbeing of citizens from environment-related risks and impacts’ (EC, 2019; Haines & Scheelbeek, 2020).
In recognition of the fact that integration of new content into physiotherapy curricula requires some thought and time, and in light of the average length of entry-level programmes around the world lying around four years, the EPT Agenda 2023 is set out as a four-year plan. This means that physiotherapy education institutions would have enough time to reach all students that have begun their training in 2020.
It is not our intention to prescribe the exact content or methods that should be integrated and implemented by participating physiotherapy education institutions to achieve the aim of the EPT Agenda 2023. Building on the quickly growing literature across fields including sustainable healthcare, sustainable healthcare education, global health, planetary health and others, we can however, provide some tentative directions throughout this Agenda and hope that this will be of value for further discussion, development and implementation.