A report, titled "Preventing the Next Pandemic: Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission", is being launched on World Zoonoses Day. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take lives and disrupt economies across the world, a new report warns that further outbreaks will emerge unless governments take active measures to prevent other zoonotic diseases from crossing into the human population, and sets out ten recommendations to prevent future pandemics.
The report is a joint effort by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). It identifies seven trends driving the increasing emergence of zoonotic diseases, including increased demand for animal protein; a rise in intense and unsustainable farming; the increased use and exploitation of wildlife; and the climate crisis. The report finds that Africa in particular, which has experienced and responded to a number of zoonotic epidemics including most recently, to Ebola outbreaks, could be a source of important solutions to quell future outbreaks.
The report identifies ten practical steps that governments can take to prevent future zoonotic outbreaks:
- Investing in interdisciplinary approaches, including One Health;
- Expanding scientific enquiry into zoonotic diseases;
- Improving cost-benefit analyses of interventions to include full-cost accounting of societal impacts of disease;
- Raising awareness of zoonotic diseases;
- Strengthening monitoring and regulation practices associated with zoonotic diseases, including food systems;
- Incentivizing sustainable land management practices and developing alternatives for food security and livelihoods that do not rely on the destruction of habitats and biodiversity;
- Improving biosecurity and control, identifying key drivers of emerging diseases in animal husbandry and encouraging proven management and zoonotic disease control measures;
- Supporting the sustainable management of landscapes and seascapes that enhance sustainable co-existence of agriculture and wildlife;
- Strengthening capacities among health stakeholders in all countries; and
- Operationalizing the One Health approach in land-use and sustainable development planning, implementation and monitoring, among other fields.