Pandemics are prompted by destruction of nature, says new WWF report after UN, WHO

The report lays out suggested (read: ambitious) goals for the various stakeholders in the process of recovering from COVID-19, and thereafter.

tech2 News Staff June 18, 2020 16:48:37 IST
Pandemics are prompted by destruction of nature, says new WWF report after UN, WHO

Illegal and unsustainable practices in wildlife trade along with the devastation of forests and other wild natural habitats are among the key driving forces behind the growing number of diseases leaping from wildlife to people, according to a new report by WWF International.

Leaders at the United Nations and the World Health Organisation lent their support to the report, claims a report in the Guardian, which calls for support from governments, companies and industry, civil society organisations and people world over in realizing their "New Deal for Nature" initiative.

"Humanity's broken relationship with nature comes with a cost. That cost has revealed itself in terrible ways. Loss of lives, loss of jobs, and a shock to our global economy," WWF International's website reads. "This pandemic joins a long list of emerging diseases that will continue to undermine global stability unless we fix our relationship with nature."

In March this year, the UN Environment chief Inger Anderson said in an interview with Guardian that humanity was placing too many pressures on the natural world with damaging consequences, and warned that failing to take care of the planet meant not taking care of ourselves.

In the view of several leading biodiversity experts, who voiced their opinions in a guest article published in the IPBES website, the coronavirus pandemic will likely to be followed by even deadlier and more destructive outbreaks unless their root cause – the rampant destruction of the natural world – is rapidly halted.

"There is a single species responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic – us," they wrote. "Recent pandemics are a direct consequence of human activity, particularly our global financial and economic systems that prize economic growth at any cost. We have a small window of opportunity, in overcoming the challenges of the current crisis, to avoid sowing the seeds of future ones."

The authors have built on the results of approved IPBES Assessment Reports, with another Assessment in the works.

Pandemics are prompted by destruction of nature says new WWF report after UN WHO

A glmpse of wildlife in the savannas of Etosha National Park, Namibia. Unsplash

In his Earth Day message, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres shared in a letter that climate action needs to shape our every move, including the worldwide recovery effects for the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Nations advised global governments to take the opportunity to "build back better" by consciously creating more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive societies through their governance and policies.

"The climate emergency, just like the #COVID19 pandemic, does not respect national boundaries," Gutteres tweeted. "On #EarthDay, I'm proposing six climate actions to shape the # Coronavirus recovery for a better future for all."

The WWF report lays out suggested (read: ambitious) goals for the various stakeholders in the process, urging governments, businesses, and the financial sector to better integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into their planning and activities.

"Governments and other stakeholders should support ambitious and measurable environmental targets, mobilizing adequate and consistent resources for global action to halt and reverse the loss of nature by 2030, and achieve the 1.5°C target of the UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement," the report concludes.

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