Biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation and negative health outcomes share many common drivers, due to anthropogenic environmental and socioeconomic changes
The current rate of biodiversity loss may have grave consequences and hamper efforts to meet a range of Sustainable Development Goals and Targets, including those related to poverty, hunger and health. Vulnerable populations including the poor, marginalized, women and children, will likely suffer first and most severely as they often rely more directly on biodiversity and associated ecosystem services for their very survival. The underlying causes of biodiversity loss, climate change and negative health outcomes are common: change in land-use and habitat, unsustainable food production practices, overharvesting, deforestation, water management processes, urbanization, use of pesticides and antimicrobials, climate change, migration, international travel and trade, etc.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of the relationship between people and nature
While the relationship between biodiversity and infectious disease is complex, it is clear that the loss and degradation of biodiversity undermines the web of life and increases the risk of disease spillover from wildlife to people. The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the urgency of addressing the biodiversity crisis and the need for transformative change.