Government pandemic spending measures continue to harm biodiversity
UN Biodiversity Convention discusses biodiversity, One Health and response to COVID-19
15 December 2020 – Government recovery spending continues to harm biodiversity, even as scientists show the importance of halting the loss of nature to prevent future pandemics, the global body charged with protecting the variety of life on Earth heard today.
A special virtual session of the scientific and implementation bodies of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) convened on 15 and 16 December (www.cbd.int/conferences/sbstta24-sbi3-prep-02), discussed work by IPBES, OECD, GEF, WHO, CBD and others (www.cbd.int/doc/c/83a8/3f70/ac783158faabde9a8e72cacc/sbstta-sbi-ss-02-02-en.docx) to show that the underlying causes of pandemics are the same global environmental changes that drive biodiversity loss and climate change.
“The links between pandemic risk and biodiversity add further weight to the rationale for addressing the drivers of biodiversity loss to prevent or reduce risk of future pandemics” said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, CBD Executive Secretary.
“We are standing at a crossroads. The way we steer our recovery out of this pandemic will either lock us into a “business as usual” unsustainable path or will enable our societies to rebuild our relationship with nature and unlock its potential.”
The links between pandemic risk and biodiversity show the need for an inclusive, transdisciplinary and cross-sectoral One Health approach, as identified in the fifth Edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook 5, (www.cbd.int/gbo5) released in September 2020. Such an approach includes the following:
– A need to integrate human health considerations into land-use planning;
– Improve the regulation and management of the use of, and trade in, wildlife;
– Reform food and agricultural systems, particularly the management of livestock;
– Lower pandemic risk by promoting responsible consumption and reducing unsustainable consumption of commodities from emerging disease hotspots, and of wildlife and wildlife-derived products, as well as by reducing excessive consumption of meat from livestock production.