Biodiversity and Human Health

Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health is a “state of knowledge review” from the Convention on Biological Diversity and the World Health Organisation (published June 4 2015)

This from the press release:

Access to sufficient quantity, quality and diversity of foods, clean air, freshwater, medicines and healthcare are not only central to maintaining healthy populations, they are foundational pillars of sustainable development. Meeting these needs while facing the persistent challenges of biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation, emerging disease pandemics and shifting disease burdens is not an insurmountable feat, but it does require concerted action, based on robust evidence and coordinated cross-sector solutions.

This comprehensive report brings this knowledge to the forefront, demonstrating that biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation and ill health often share common threats and pointing toward innovative, mutually-supportive and cross-sectoral solutions. . . .

Among the shared threats identified throughout the report, land-use change is identified as an important driver of biodiversity loss with concurrent implications for many of our most pressing public health challenges. For example, land use change through deforestation is a leading driver of disease emergence in humans and is believed to have contributed to the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa. While the resulting development of our freshwater and terrestrial resources is also associated with some health benefits, these are unevenly distributed, often to the detriment of our most vulnerable populations and carry unintended consequences. For example, under unsustainable conditions, industrial agricultural practices in many parts of the world may also exacerbate biodiversity loss, pest and disease outbreaks, micronutrient deficiencies, antibiotic resistance and the impacts of climate change on the health. These outcomes are not inevitable. They can be averted through concerted global efforts, by connecting our vast scientific and local knowledge, and developing coherent, cross-sectoral policy priorities toward a healthier, more equitable, sustainable future.

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