UNEP Report – Preventing the Next Pandemic

8 July 2020 – The United Nations Environment Programme has just published a report: ‘Preventing the Next Pandemic – Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission’. Contributing authors include CMS Executive Secretary, Amy Fraenkel and CMS Scientific Adviser, Marco Barbieri, while Sergey Dereliev, the Technical Officer of AEWA and Suran Gazaryan of EUROBATS served as reviewers.

Zoonotic pathogens are found in a variety of migratory species of wild animals (e.g., bats, ungulates, and waterfowl). While some zoonotic diseases in humans appear to have been tied to spillovers from migratory species, most of these events have resulted from human activities, such as direct consumption of wild animals, harvesting, handling and increased proximity of humans and livestock to natural habitats. The conservation status of many migratory species is declining worldwide. Many factors related to the increased occurrence of zoonotic diseases are the same as those that threaten the survival of migratory species.

Ten possible policy responses have been identified in the report aiming to reduce the likelihood of further zoonotic outbreaks occurring in the future and to ‘build back better’.  These options cover (i) raising awareness of health and environment risks and prevention; (ii) improving health governance, including by engaging environmental stakeholders; (iii) expanding scientific inquiry into the environmental dimensions of zoonotic diseases; (iv) ensuring full-cost financial accounting of the societal impacts of disease; (v) enhancing monitoring and regulation of food systems using risk-based approaches; (vi) phasing out unsustainable agricultural practices; (vii) developing and implementing stronger biosecurity measures; (viii) strengthening animal health (including wildlife health services); (ix) building capacity among health stakeholders to incorporate environmental dimensions of health; and (x) mainstreaming and implementing “One Health’ approaches.

A One Health approach, uniting medical, veterinary and environmental expertise, will help governments, businesses and civil society achieve enduring health for people, animals and environments alike.

The full report and the key messages can be found here:

Last updated on 03 September 2020