Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health
This is an extensive report focused on the complex and multi-faceted connections between biodiversity and human health, and how the loss of biodiversity and corresponding ecosystem services may negatively influence health.
UNEP, Convention on Biological Diversity and WHO. (2015). Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health, a State of Knowledge Review. ISBN: 9789241508537. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity: Montreal, Canada. 364 pp.
Healthy communities rely on well-functioning ecosystems. They provide clean air, fresh water, medicines and food security. They also limit disease and stabilize the climate. But biodiversity loss is happening at unprecedented rates, impacting human health worldwide, according to a new state of knowledge review of the Convention on Biological Diversity and World Health Organization.
The report, Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health, launched today in Brussels at Green Week 2015, Europe’s biggest annual conference on environmental policy, focuses on the complex and multi-faceted connections between biodiversity and human health, and how the loss of biodiversity and corresponding ecosystem services may negatively influence health. One of the first integrative reviews of its kind, the report brings together knowledge from several scientific disciplines, including public health, conservation, agriculture, epidemiology and development.
- Biodiversity provides many goods and services essential to life on earth. The management of natural resources can determine the baseline health status of a community. Environmental stewardship can contribute to secure livelihoods and improve the resilience of communities. The loss of these resources can create the conditions responsible for morbidity or mortality.
- Biodiversity supports human and societal needs, including food and nutrition security, energy, development of medicines and pharmaceuticals and freshwater, which together underpin good health. It also supports economic opportunities, and leisure activities that contribute to overall wellbeing.
- Land use change, pollution, poor water quality, chemical and waste contamination, climate change and other causes of ecosystem degradation all contribute to biodiversity loss and, can pose considerable threats to human health.
- It is important for the health sector to recognize that Human health and well-being are influenced by the health of local plant and animal communities, and the integrity of the local ecosystems that they form.
- Infectious diseases cause over one billion human infections per year, with millions of deaths each year globally. Approximately two thirds of known human infectious diseases are shared with animals, and the majority of recently emerging diseases are associated with wildlife.
- Public health policies must ensure that the impacts of ecosystem alteration are assessed and reflected in strategies by meaningfully engaging with different sectors, disciplines and local communities. The Sustainable Development Goals and post-2015 development agenda provide unique momentum and opportunity to develop coherent, coordinated, crosssectoral action.
Benefit Statements / Outcomes
- 1.01 Extends life expectancy
- 1.08 Contributes to mental health
- 1.09 Enhances well-being and QOL
- 6.01 Reduce illness and disability
- 8.01 Protect habitat & biodiversity
- 8.02 Improve air quality
- 8.04 Mitigate against environmental disaster
- 8.07 Greenspaces essential to overall good health & quality of life