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ecoHEALTH at CBD COP12: Addressing Underlying Drivers of Disease Emergence and Biodiversity Loss

The ecoHEALTH project provided scientific guidance at the CBD Twelfth Conference of the Parties, where there was extensive discussion about the Ebola crisis and disease links to biodiversity loss.

DIVERSITAS participated in the Panel Discussion on “Framing Biodiversity And Health In The Context Of The Post-2015 Development Agenda”, introduced by CBD Executive Secretary Dr. Souza Dias

The DIVERSITAS ecoHEALTH project had a successful two weeks at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s 12th Conference of the Parties (COP) held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, 6-17 October 2014. The theme of the COP was “Biodiversity for Sustainable Development”.

Health was formally on the agenda for discussion under the Sustainable Development Goals, and CBD Parties expressed strong concerns over the devastating ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa, giving a call to action on the urgent need for research on the links between human health and biodiversity and more collaborative efforts between the biodiversity and health communities to tackle shared threats.

As part of the CBD’s decisions on health, the Convention now formally “recognizes the value of a One Health approach” that considers human, animal and environmental health links. In collaboration with partners including the ecoHEALTH project, the CBD will undertake a synthesis report on the underlying drivers of disease emergence and biodiversity loss.

ecoHEALTH provided critical expertise throughout the COP, organizing and participating in side events with partners from EcoHealth Alliance, DIVERSITAS, UNU-IAS, SCBD, WHO, TRAFFIC, FioCruz and Bioversity. Events included presentations and panel discussions on: “Tackling Common Drivers Of Disease And Biodiversity Loss: A One Health Approach”, “Framing Biodiversity And Health In The Context Of The Post-2015 Development Agenda”, and “Biodiversity And Community Health: Operationalising Linkages Between Conservation And Development On The Ground”. These forums enabled fruitful discussions on emerging diseases and One Health opportunities to protect both health and biodiversity. Side events were introduced by Dr. Braulio F. de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the CBD, and Dr. David Cooper, Director, Scientific, Technical and Technological Matters at the CBD, showing the CBD Secretariat’s strong support for health and biodiversity initiatives as an important component of reaching biodiversity targets, including biodiversity mainstreaming.

The advanced draft of CBD-WHO joint publication “Connecting Global Priorities: A State of Knowledge Review on the Interlinkages between Biodiversity and Human Health” was also launched at the COP. The ecoHEALTH project had an active role in the development of the publication, including coordination of the publication’s infectious disease chapter.

Dr. Anne-Hélène Prieur-Richard, Acting Executive Director of DIVERSITAS, and Catherine Machalaba, ecoHEALTH Science Office, also participated in a press conference held at the COP on Ebola and the connections between emerging disease and ecological determinants. The press conference also included participation from the CBD Delegate from Guinea, one of the countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

DIVERSITAS also included mention of the important relevance of health to nature-based solutions in its statement delivered at the COP High Level Session, including ecosystem services that promote health, as well as synergistic approaches to addressing shared threats to both biodiversity and health.

ecoHEALTH is pleased with the outcomes of the COP and looks forward to continuing its fruitful work on health and biodiversity in collaboration with the CBD.

For more information on side events, please visit: http://www.diversitas-international.org/about/diversitas-events-and-activities-at-cop12-6-17-october-2014-republik-of-korea

please view the press conference on Ebola (held 10 October at 16:00) here: http://www.liveto.com/cop12/floor/04.html

 

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