Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, the Executive Secretary to the Convention on Biological Diversity, has welcomed a new UNEP report on environment and health which links a healthy environment and healthy ecosystems as the basis for the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
On 23 May, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched a new report entitled Healthy Environment, Healthy People, prepared in collaboration with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Montreal Protocol and the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm conventions. The launch of the new report marked the start of the second United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA-2).
Drawing on 2012 estimates from the WHO, the report indicates that almost one quarter of the global burden of mortality – or 12.6 million deaths – is attributable to modifiable environmental factors. This builds on other leading reports of global significance that seek to relay the importance of socio-ecological resilience to human health outcomes. These efforts include the State of Knowledge Review, Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human health jointly led by the WHO and the CBD Secretariat in collaboration with over one hundred interdisciplinary experts, and The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission Report on Planetary Health.
Together with Healthy Environment, Healthy People, these reports form a common voice calling urgently for concerted, coherent, collaborative action to conserve or increase the resilience of ecosystems and human communities worldwide.
Dias noted: “In 2015, we witnessed the release of several landmark agreements for sustainable development including the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. These are ambitious objectives, but there has never been greater urgency and opportunity to meet these commitments.”
He added that if the international community is to meet these ambitious commitments we cannot turn a blind eye to the common drivers of biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation and ill health, the limitations of predominant economic models of consumption and production, or compounding pressures – such as land use change, climate change and pollution on ecosystems nearing environmental thresholds.
The Executive Secretary also noted that many of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets adopted by over 190 countries in 2010 directly or indirectly influence human health outcomes. Parties will have the opportunity to consider these linkages, and the implications of the findings of these reports, at the upcoming 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the CBD, in Cancun, Mexico from 4 to 17 December 2016.