The COVID-19 pandemic has so far directly infected over 26 million identified people, with over 860,000 deaths globally. Unidentified cases, unrecorded deaths, and a still poorly understood and characterised “tail” of chronic (ongoing) health effects resulting from COVID-19 mean that the direct burden of the disease is far higher than the figures suggest, in addition to the profound damages to societies, economies, and environment in every corner of the world.
As the global community seeks to build back better after COVID-19, it is crucial to understand the transmission of zoonoses, the threats they pose to human health, and how to minimise the risk of further devastating outbreaks. To this end, The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) jointly developed a new scientific report, Preventing the Next Pandemic: Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission, launched in July 2020. This scientific assessment identifies seven trends driving the increasing emergence of zoonotic diseases - those which jump between animal and human populations - and offers ten practical steps that governments can take to prevent future zoonotic outbreaks.
Based on the findings and conclusions of the UNEP-ILRI report, the Webinar will focus its dialogue and exchange on key anthropogenic drivers for the emergence of zoonoses, from agricultural intensification and increased demand for animal protein to the conversion of land and climate change. Some of the key policy options the approaches that can be taken to reduce the risk of the emerging zoonoses and future pandemics, including through regulating and monitoring traditional food markets, incentivizing the legal wildlife trade and animal husbandry to adopt zoonotic control measures, and further promoting the One Health approach will also be discussed.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic in Asia and the Pacific, UNEP plans to organize a special dialogue on the pandemic and mitigation of the emerging zoonoses in the region at the launching and the first Asia Pacific Science-Policy-Business Forum on Environment (tentatively in Jan 2021). The discussions of the Webinar would be incorporated into the information paper for the Asia Pacific Science-Policy-Business Forum.
To share the state of the art knowledge and enhance the understanding on the key anthropogenic drivers for the emergence of zoonoses
To exchange and analyse the policy options and legal solutions to reduce the risk of the emerging zoonoses and future pandemics