Explained : Why 2021 is Considered Important For Biodiversity

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Dealing with a growing climate emergency and diminishing biodiversity, we need to see a bold paradigm shift. Climate and environmental factors must be an integral part of economic models and plans. But political commitment alone is not enough. We must build partnerships, alliances and coalitions for low-carbon and green solutions.

New Delhi (ABC Live India): Biodiversity is experiencing dramatic losses at the hands of humans. Unsustainable farming practices, agri-food systems and uncurbed urbanization are all taking a terrible toll on our natural resources. If left unchecked, the alarming pace of biodiversity losses will have devastating consequences for humankind and our capacity to feed the world.

For example: around three out four emerging infectious diseases in people originate from domestic or wild animals, and there is growing evidence that the key drivers are landscape changes and biodiversity loss. We have seen how COVID-19, a zoonotic disease that spreads from animals to humans, has jeopardized human health and upturned the global economy, putting lives, livelihoods and general well-being and security at risk the world over.

The One Planet Summit comes at a crucial moment, kicking off a series of key events throughout 2021 - notably the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, the UN Food Systems Summit, the UN Ocean Conference, and the 15th UN Biodiversity Conference - where all players must come together and commit to firmly placing both climate and nature at the core of global recovery actions.

The UN Biodiversity Conference is expected to adopt a new post-2020 global biodiversity framework for the coming years to ensure that biodiversity contributes to the nutrition, food security, and livelihoods of people, especially for the most vulnerable. 

Dealing with a growing climate emergency and diminishing biodiversity, we need to see a bold paradigm shift. Climate and environmental factors must be an integral part of economic models and plans. But political commitment alone is not enough. We must build partnerships, alliances and coalitions for low-carbon and green solutions. These must go hand-in-hand with employment, innovation, and socio-economic opportunities for everyone.  These efforts are also crucial for achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

What can we do?

We need to better understand the root causes of zoonotic diseases, in order to prevent future outbreaks and support a green recovery. A single spillover from animal to human can trigger a global pandemic. This means that we need to work on multiple fronts to reduce the likelihood of spillovers of potential pandemic agents at every crossroad.

Integrating ecosystem health with human, livestock and wild animal health is essential. This is the sure path to mitigating future pandemics. We must promote an ecosystem approach that preserves biodiversity, builds resilience and leads to sustainable food systems. Yet, connecting all these pieces is very challenging and calls for great collaboration and coordination at all levels.             

The need for integrated surveillance in human, wildlife and farmed animal populations is an emerging priority to assess and manage the risks. Greater foresight of where, when and how spillovers occur will enable greater targeting of prevention efforts in communities likely to be first affected. And we must support indigenous peoples to secure and exercise their territorial rights to sustainably manage the wild resources they depend on for food, income and cultural identity.


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