Protected areas can ‘stop’ spread of zoonotic diseases

Protected areas can play a big role in stopping the spread of zoonotic diseases. Also, forest restoration can decrease transmission risk of the diseases, however, depending on how it is done and it can also increase the risk of some diseases.

These were among the key points identified during the virtual sessions of the joint fifth Science-Policy Forum for Biodiversity and the eighth International Conference on Sustainability Science that closed on Friday.

Some 2,181 participated, with the conclusions and recommendations of the virtual sessions to be submitted to the 24th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 24), the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI 3), and the third meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, said: “It is you, the scientific community, through your tireless work and engagement, that have kept ringing the alarm bells on the continuing loss of biodiversity worldwide.”

“Your critical contributions will help the world community, and especially policymakers, understand how critical it is to act and urgently change our relationship with nature.”

The other key points include investments in nature, including halting land-use change, supporting restoration and making food systems nature positive, are key to preventing next pandemic.

Nature is deeply intertwined with and influenced by social, economic, and political forces; therefore, nuanced understandings of dynamic people-nature relationships are crucial to inform restoration activities that can support positive ecological outcomes alongside social well-being.

Initially scheduled for October 2020, prior to the postponed 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the co-organizers decided to convene a series of virtual sessions to maintain momentum and use the opportunity to provide science-based input to the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

The joint event is still planned to take place prior to COP-15, now scheduled for October 11-24.

The Science Forum is a unique opportunity for scientists, policy makers and other relevant stakeholders to conduct open discussions and make recommendations on how science, technology and innovation can contribute to the effective implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, bend the curve of biodiversity loss, obtain positive biodiversity outcomes, and foster transformative change towards achieving the 2050 Vision.