Biodiversity, healthy ecosystems and human health and well-being are inextricably linked. Yet, we continue to see the destruction of our natural world to our own detriment.
Human ecological disruption, unsustainable consumption and production, climate change and pollution have driven both infectious and noncommunicale disease risk long before the COVID 19 pandemic. Today, the risk of both infectious disease outbreaks and noncommunicable diseases is increasing rapidly, as is the incidence of antimicrobial resistance. Increased disease risk is itself driven by increasing anthropogenic changes and the impacts of human activities on the environment. In particular, unsustainable exploitation of the environment due to land-use change, agricultural expansion and intensification, unregulated animal trade and consumption, pollution, the increased use of antimicrobials in food production systems and other drivers disrupt natural interactions and ecosystem integrity and combine to drive disease risk.
Climate change has also been implicated in disease emergence (e.g. tick-borne encephalitis in Scandinavia) and will likely cause substantial health risks in future by driving the movement of people, wildlife, reservoirs, and vectors, and spread of their pathogens, in ways that lead to new contact among species, increased contact among species, disrupt natural host-pathogen dynamics, by hindering food and nutrition security and food safety, and can also drive the risk of NCDs.
Some of the questions explored through this session will examine the main reasons that we have largely failed to value healthy ecosystems as a fundamental pathway to keeping humans healthy. It will also seek to address how key stakeholders and sectors can work together to achieve transformative change required to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and other global commitments (e.g. Paris Agreement, Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework).
What are the main reasons that we have largely failed to value healthy ecosystems and environments as a fundamental pathway to reducing the global burden of both infectious and non-communicable diseases?
Finding synergies to maximize co-benefits can be meaningfully achieved only through concerted multi-sector, multi-stakeholder collaboration. Newly expanded initiatives and collaborations and tools to support the implementation of One Health and other integrated approaches to health, such as Ecohealth and planetary health, and other emerging or expanded partnerships, provide essential opportunities to address both global environmental challenges and infectious and noncommunicable disease risks.
The "Inter-sectoral, Multi-sectoral Approaches" session will be divided into two parts for an in depth look at the challenges (Parallel Session 2.2) associated with siloed actions to tackle the root causes of infectious and noncommunicable disease risk and opportunities (Parallel Session 2.5) and tools for cross-sectoral and multisectoral collaboration to overcome them. It will enable participants both to engage in a constructive dialogue spanning the full breadth of the biodiversity and climate challenges that we face and to discuss opportunities for engagement to catalyze cross-sectoral action through integrated approaches such as One Health, and other integrated approaches to health.
Climate and Health Technical Specialist and Researcher
Abt Associates and LSHTM
Pharma-agro Business Developer
K Agro-innovate Institute under Kasikornthai Foundation