World Zoonoses Day -- 6 July

To highlight the continued importance of prevention, on World Zoonoses Day 2021, we will highlight the ten key policy recommendations from a recent report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The report, titled "Preventing the Next Pandemic: Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission" notes that around 80 per cent of pathogens infecting animals are “multi-host,” meaning that they move among different animal hosts,  including occasionally humans.

Continued biodiversity loss and runaway climate change present a fundamental risk to the healthy and stable ecosystems that sustain all aspects of our societies.

The COVID-19 crisis has served to highlight just how critical the health of our ecosystems is for human well-being and sustainable development.

These crises reduce the ability of biodiversity and ecosystems to provide essential life-sustaining services including disease regulation and pest management.

The recommendations in the report can help governments, businesses and other actors not only to respond to and mitigate future disease outbreaks, but also to reduce the risk of their emergence (see below).

Click here to read the full report



More information: 

Preventing zoonotic disease spread

Biodiversity and infectious diseases

Preparations for the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework


Ten Key Recommendations

Raise awareness and increase understanding (knowledge) of zoonotic and emerging disease risks and prevention (where appropriate), at all levels of society to build widespread support for risk-reduction strategies.

Increase investments in interdisciplinary approaches including the One Health perspective; strengthen the integration of environmental considerations in the World Health Organization (WHO)/Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)/World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Tripartite Collaboration.

Expand scientific enquiry into the complex social, economic and ecological dimensions of emerging diseases, including zoonoses, to assess risks and develop interventions at the interface of the environment, animal health and human health.

Improve cost-benefit analyses of emerging diseases prevention interventions to include fullcost accounting of societal impacts of disease (including the cost of unintended consequences of interventions) so as to optimize investments and reduce trade-offs. Ensure ongoing and wellresourced preparedness and response mechanisms.

Develop effective means of monitoring and regulating practices associated with zoonotic disease, including food systems from farm to fork (particularly for removing structural drivers of emergence) and improving sanitary measures, taking into account the nutritional, cultural and socio-economic benefits of these food systems.

Include health considerations in incentives for (sustainable) food systems, including wildlife source foods. Augment and incentivize management practices to control unsustainable agricultural practice, wildlife consumption and trade (including illegal activities). Develop alternatives for food security and livelihoods that do not rely on the destruction and unsustainable exploitation of habitats and biodiversity.

Identify key drivers of emerging diseases in animal husbandry, both in industrialized agriculture (intensive husbandry systems) and smallholder production. Include proper accounting of biosecurity measures in production driven animal husbandry/livestock production to the overall cost of One Health. Incentivize proven and under-used animal husbandry management, biosecurity and zoonotic disease control measures for industrial and disadvantaged smallholder farmers and herders (e.g. through the removal of subsidies and perverse incentives of industrialized agriculture), and develop practices that strengthen the health, opportunity and sustainability of diverse smallholder systems.

Support integrated management of landscapes and seascapes  that enhance sustainable co-existence of agriculture and wildlife, including through investment in agroecological methods of food production that mitigate waste and pollution while reducing risk of zoonotic disease transmission. Reduce further destruction and fragmentation of wildlife habitat by strengthening the implementation of existing commitments on habitat conservation and restoration, the maintenance of ecological connectivity, reduction of habitat loss, and incorporating biodiversity values in governmental and private sector decision-making and planning processes.

Strengthen existing and build new capacities among health stakeholders in all countries to improve outcomes and to help them understand the human, animal and environment health dimensions of zoonotic and other diseases.

Adequately mainstream and implement the One Health approach in land-use and sustainable development planning, implementation and monitoring, among other fields.