The Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative continuously raises awareness for the complex interlinkages between biodiversity, ecosystem services and health. This is based on the firm belief that biodiversity lies the foundation for human health as it provides healthy ecosystems on which we depend for our food and fresh water or aids in regulating climate floods and disease. Biodiversity provides recreational benefits and offers aesthetic and spiritual enrichment. It further contributes to local livelihoods, to both traditional and modern medicines and to economic development.
In light of this mandate, most of our partners recently attended the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-12) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which took place from 6 – 17 October 2014 in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea. In addition to events and meetings, the BaCH Initiative and its partners further facilitated four side events on issues around biodiversity and health.
Here are some highlights of our work during CoP-12
TACKLING COMMON DRIVERS OF DISEASE AND BIODIVERSITY LOSS: A ONE HEALTH APPROACH
by EcoHealth Alliance, DIVERSITAS, UNU-IAS, SCBD, WHO and TRAFFIC
During this side event, the BaCH Initiative partners jointly with other organisations emphasised the that human disease and biodiversity loss share common drivers, providing opportunities for cross-sectoral collaboration for co-benefits for health and biodiversity. This becomes particularly clear in the context of overexploitation of wild fauna and flora which places pressure on wild populations and threatens the health-supporting ecosystem services they provide. Infectious diseases present a major direct threat to human health, with over one billion human cases globally each year. It is further increasingly recognized as a threat to other species (including but not limited to plants and terrestrial and marine animals). This has major implications for ecosystems as a whole, and can threaten food security and the provision of several ecosystem services.
Against this background, this side event highlighted the need for a “One Health” approach that considers the connections between humans, animals and environment. Partners highlighted that such an approach allows for a more integrated and proactive mechanism for tackling shared health and biodiversity concerns. The event further enabled debates around the upcoming CBD-WHO State of Knowledge Review on Biodiversity and Health and particularly engaged participants in relevant discussion under COP 12 agenda item 16 (sustainable development), sub-item 3 (biodiversity and health). (This side event took place on Tuesday 7th October from 18:15 to 19:45)
FRAMING BIODIVERSITY AND HEALTH IN THE CONTEXT OF THE POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA
by SCBD, WHO, Bioversity International, Diversitas, Ecohealth Alliance, FIOCRUZ, Wildlife Conservation Society, Health & Ecosystems: Analysis Of Linkages (WCS-HEAL), UNU-IAS and TRAFFIC.
Jointly with the WHO, the SCBD organised a side event on the forthcoming volume of the State of Knowledge Review on Biodiversity and Human Health. The event highlighted key thematic areas of the publication including agricultural biodiversity, food and nutrition security, water quality, infectious diseases, One Health, traditional medicine knowledge and sustainable use in an effort to mobilise plenary discussion under the CBD-WHO joint work programme. Keynote presentations by the CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Diaz as well as WHO partners further emphasised the need to address these key issues in an integrated manner by acknowledging interconnections and synergising efforts. Besides, the organisers actively engaged participants in discussions with some of the core partners who have co-led work on various chapters of the publication including several BaCH Initiative partners such as UNU-IAS, TRAFFIC as well as Bioversity International and Ecohealth Alliance. (This side event took place on Wednesday 8th October from 13:15 to 14:45.)
BIODIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY HEALTH: OPERATIONALISING LINKAGES BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT ON THE GROUND
by UNU-IAS, Bioversity International, Ecohealth Alliance, TRAFFIC, SCBD, UNEP, UNDP and International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB)
This event focused on different dimensions related to the interplay between biodiversity and community health including challenges, strengths and opportunities by sharing case studies. Through keynote speeches by several BaCH Initiative partners such as Bioversity International, UNU-IAS, TRAFFIC and the SCBD, the event highlighted the crucial role of biological resources and well-functioning ecosystems to ensuring the health of humans animals and other life forms. The side event further emphasised gaining importance in identification and use of resources that help to overcome new health conditions, in light of changing climatic conditions. Acknowledging this year’s COP theme “Biodiversty for Sustainable Development“, the key message of the event was the need for policies which are aligned better with basic challenges faced especially by vulnerable populations to achieve their development aspirations. The side event further showcased the progress made within the BaCH Initiative to foster greater interactions among relevant stakeholders and partners to synergise efforts and achieving conservation and development objectives. (This side event took place on Thursday 9th October from 13:15 to 14:45.)
BIODIVERSITY, HEALTH, FOOD, NUTRITION AND THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS: WAYS FORWARD
by Bioversity International, Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research (PAR), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and SCBD
The dialogue session was jointly launched by Bioversity International (a BaCH Initiative partner) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The session included a key note speech by the CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Diaz further who addressed the relevance of agrobiodiversity, food security and nutrition in light of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Post-2015 Development Agenda. The event further showcased the work carried out under the CBD-WHO joint work programme (strategically linked to this core thematic area of Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health) and highlighted findings in the State of Knowledge Review – an upcoming flagship publication on the interconnections between biodiversity and human health. Relevant Parties involved in the GEF-funded Bioversity for Food and Nutrition project (including Brazil and Turkey), and a representative of the Government of Korea speaking on Korean traditional food cultures further added value to the discussions through sharing cross-country experiences. The organisers further engaged the participants in vivid discussions with the interdisciplinary panel highlighting the relevance of agrobiodiversity, food security and nutrition for implementing the Aichi Biodiversity Targets 14 and 13 in the context of the SDGs and the Post-2015 Development Agenda. (This side event took place on Friday 10th October from 13:15 to 14:45.)