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Views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the
European Union or the European Commission. Neither the EU nor the EC can be held responsible for them.
Biodiversity and Health
Training session on SBSTTA 26 substantive agenda items April 2nd 2024 Online
Professor Dr Richard Kock
(Retired) Royal Veterinary College London
Vice-President Wildlife Disease Association
Background for the presentation
● Basic information to understand the history and context of biodiversity and
health and issues, identified by COOP4CBD*, focused on technical aspects and
with political context
● Gaps in knowledge on the topic
● Key targeted narratives to drive negotiations on mainstreaming biodiversity for
the health sector
● Support to draft Global Action Plan to mainstream biodiversity and health
linkages into national policies, strategies, programmes and accounts
*CBD/COP/DEC/15/29 19 December 2022 using: the IPBES REPORT, narratives from COVID 19 (pandemic origin & risk), contemporary One
Health developments (quadripartite), calls for sustainable consumption/production in human economy, humancentric view on natural resources
and medicines value, and opportunity to use traditional knowledge to reexamine human development pathways in the context of environment.
Wildlife Disease
Biodiversity & Health Evidence
Your image here
Wildlife
● Strong narrative around emerging
disease and wildlife sources.
● This is based on a general principle
that novel organisms ultimately must
arise from biodiversity (zoonotic).
● The rare events that do occur usually
require intermediary (domestic or
peridomestic) hosts/vectors and
anthropogenic actions to drive events
or emergence.
● Wildlife trade source – legal negligible
and illegal unknown
● Absence of data
CITES Legal trade species
CITES Legal trade source
Wildlife is often described as the major
source of emerging pathogens – is this
true?
Haider et al 2020
https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.596944
If you include non-
animal source of
emerging human
pathogens –
wildlife ultimate
source <43%
Biodiversity suffers
disease and ill health
Natural disease ecological processes,
arguably, sustain health in populations.
Anthropogenic influences and stressors –
starvation, disturbance, pollutants, climate
change, disease exposure from humans
and domestic animals – unbalanced threat.
Mass Mortality Events greatest threat to
biodiversity and populations – expression of
populations exceeding thresholds of
resilience.
Urban wildlife and
disease vectors
Creation of artificial habitats
supporting anthropophillic
mosquitos and infection e.g. A
aegypti Dengue Fever
Your image here
•Getachew et al 2015 DOI: 10.1155/2015/706276
Greening Urban spaces
– risk of vector or
pathogen host
increase?
Evidence suggests:
If biodiversity is principle of urban
greening, risk is low – ecosystemic
stabilities – e.g. insect predators and
dilution effects.
Increased rodent diversity, associated
with natural forest, likely reduces risk of
viral exposures e.g. lassa fever virus
D.Simons 2023 PhD thesis
If based on monocultures of vegetation +
animals occupying sterile human domain,
vector pathogen risk is higher + also
higher incidence of allergic reactions
through aerial pollen monocultures.
Biodiversity and
Health
Transdisciplinarity
Your image here
Sustainable
Development Goals
and One Health
(historically)
Humancentric
● One Health is an integrated, unifying approach
that aims to sustainably balance and optimize
the health of people, animals and ecosystems.
It recognizes the health of humans, domestic
and wild animals, plants, and the wider
environment (including ecosystems) are closely
linked and inter-dependent. The approach
mobilizes multiple sectors, disciplines and
communities at varying levels of society to
work together to foster well-being and tackle
threats to health and ecosystems, while
addressing the collective need for clean water,
energy and air, safe and nutritious food, taking
action on climate change, and contributing to
sustainable development (Quadripartite
Advisory Panel)
Global trends in human health
Category A communicable maternal, perinatal, and nutritional disorders
Category B non-communicable disease
Category C injury
Millions
of
people
Murray and Lopez 1997
Burdenof Disease
Heart
Mental
RTA
Cardiovascular
Pulmonary
Respiratory Infection
TB
War
Diarrhoea
HIV
Mortality
●Animal Mortality
1. Deliberate killing
2. Starvation
3. Accidental death
4. Parasites
5. Microbial infection
6. Heat or cold
7. Plant toxins
8. Poisons, pollution
9. Thirst
10. Metabolic disease
Global trends in animal health
Global trends in ecosystems health
Scientific
Reviews
Databases
Biodiversity and Health
The 7 anthropogenic drivers of disease emergence described in the
UNEP report (UNEP & ILRI, 2020) are:
• (1)* Increasing demand for animal protein;
• (2)* Unsustainable agricultural intensification;
• (3)** Increased use and exploitation of wildlife;
• (4)** Unsustainable utilization of natural resources accelerated
by urbanization, land use change and extractive industries;
• (5)* Travel and transportation;
• (6)* Changes in food supply chains;
• (7)*** Climate change.
Evidence base:
* significant in endemic and emergent zoonoses
**weak with indirect evidence to suggest their role in this process
(facilitating drivers).
***moderate with climate change, with a general impact on
distribution of hosts, vectors, and pathogens, with associated new
emergences and spreading of diseases across geographies. These are
often not novel pathogens themselves (yet still described as EIDs), for
which there is little direct evidence for a climate effect on their
evolution, so far…..
Recent in-depth
reviews on Biodiversity
and Health issues
Wildlife and Human Disease Emergence
Expert opinion*
Semi-systematic review*
Major reports around disease issues from
wildlife show broad agreement but some
contradictions*, mainly the fact that there is
little evidence to support direct wildlife human
infection as a regular cause of human disease.
https://portals.iucn.org/library/node/49880
Kock 2014
https:doi:10.4102/ojvr.v81i2.739
Science or
Narrative, arising
from COVID-19?
Biodiversity and Health
WOAH WAHIS database
Wildlife disease reports
voluntary
Highly deficient
FAO Risk
assessment -
negligible
Opportunism agenda driven
Views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the
European Union or the European Commission. Neither the EU nor the EC can be held responsible for them.
Main conclusions:
PHC in NCH not fully recognized
Most clearly defined in “nature-based
care” / disease prevention green
prescriptions & “medicinal plants” /
traditional medicine
Lack of specific tools to support PHC
practices
Importance of “context” to integrate NCH
and PHC: patient’s history and background
& context of the PHC professional and of
the health issue
Overall, knowledge on NCH in PHC in its
infancy in both science and practice
One Health approach: strengthen
collaboration environmental, human, and
animal health care sectors for disease
control and prevention
One Health seminar CliMigHealth - 20211018
The results show strong evidence
benefit on e.g. cardiovascular health
and reduced heat stress related
disease
Cardinale et al 2013
Monetary
benefits
Biodiversity and Health
To biodiversity (EEA report circular economy 2023)
From biodiversity in reducing health costs…..
through NATURE BASED SOLUTIONS
Nature Based Solutions
to economy
● Mental health problems cost UK
economy at least £118 billion a year
(LSE 2022)
○ Human–nature interaction throughout
the life-course have generally
demonstrated potential beneficial
associations with mental health and
well-being. However, inconsistencies
exist in the evidence available in terms
of their applied methodologies and
reported findings. Spano et al 2021
● Exposure to biodiversity general
positive physical and
immunomodulatory effect and
developmental (microbiome) effect vital
to health
○ Improved general health reduces
primary health costs and economic
losses through inactivity
UN systems
Biodiversity and Health
● Health of humans, ecosystems
(environment), and agriculture
“covered”….but not biodiversity
and health
Healthy Planet Healthy
People
MEAs
Biodiversity and Health
● Numerous MEAs with some
linkage to health outcomes,
whether biodiversity, reducing
trade risks to health, migration
health concerns, pollution and
microbial systems
decomposers, chemicalisation,
genetic resources and
manipulations, heritage and
culture etc.
Green Space
and Health
Biodiversity and Health
Indicators on
interlinkages
Biodiversity and Health
Your image here
Biodiversity & Human Health indicators/linkages
● Natural animal and plant resource historically sustained nutrition of human populations
directly, now more indirectly.
● Natural resource provided majority of medicinal products historically, subsequently
chemically analysed and synthesised.
● Contribution of natural resource to livelihoods, infrastructure, housing and economical
wealth of humans.
● Contribution of nature to human mental health and well-being through exposure to a
biodiverse environment, animals and plants.
● Developmental and microbiome benefits from exposure to natural environment
● Contribution of biodiversity to agriculture (e.g. pollinators) and sustained nutrition
● Contribution of microbial biodiversity to decomposition, nutrient and energy recycling.
● Contribution of nature to clean air and water, atmosphere and climate stability.
co-benefits of
conservation &
ecological
restoration
Biodiversity and Health
Ecosystem services
➢ Ecosystemic stabilities
restored
➢ Biodiversity conserved
Clean air and water
Climate buffer
Natural waste processing
(decomposers)
Pathogen dilution effect (someX
countered by amplification)
Pathogen buffering (reduced
environmental load)
Opportunity for diverse quality
nutrition (fish and terrestrial
animal harvest)
Conclusive narrative
Biodiversity and health have a nexus, expressed mostly in human terms
(impact, benefit), and less so in health of animals and plants but the
natural ecologies are fundamental to population health. Microbial
community is a neglected element, vital with positive and negative
interactions with higher animals, and where ecosystemic stabilities are
dependent on biodiversity and ecosystems integrity and function.
Current global systems do not address biodiversity and health in any
meaningful way, and no UN institution has the mandate for this.
International and even less so National health agencies are not focused
on wildlife or biodiversity in any significant way.
Interactions are complex and poorly researched or understood with
strong narratives, created from a vacuum.
Methodologies are lacking and capacities highly deficient.
Rather like environment, generally, biodiversity and health are
casualties to human development and activity not dissimilar to climate
and health, and perhaps should be tackled in a similar manner.
Fundamental to existence of life, requiring global implementable
policies and regulatory mechanisms that are enforceable. Achieving
circular economies, post humanist in outlook, supportive of biodiversity
and ecosystems, rather than subsumed to circuits of capital in decline
along with natural resources.
Thank you for your attention!
Richard Kock richardakock@icloud.com
Coming soon www.coop4cbd.eu Follow COOP4CBD

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Biodiversity and Health. Prof. Richard Kock.

  • 1. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the EU nor the EC can be held responsible for them. Biodiversity and Health Training session on SBSTTA 26 substantive agenda items April 2nd 2024 Online Professor Dr Richard Kock (Retired) Royal Veterinary College London Vice-President Wildlife Disease Association
  • 2. Background for the presentation ● Basic information to understand the history and context of biodiversity and health and issues, identified by COOP4CBD*, focused on technical aspects and with political context ● Gaps in knowledge on the topic ● Key targeted narratives to drive negotiations on mainstreaming biodiversity for the health sector ● Support to draft Global Action Plan to mainstream biodiversity and health linkages into national policies, strategies, programmes and accounts *CBD/COP/DEC/15/29 19 December 2022 using: the IPBES REPORT, narratives from COVID 19 (pandemic origin & risk), contemporary One Health developments (quadripartite), calls for sustainable consumption/production in human economy, humancentric view on natural resources and medicines value, and opportunity to use traditional knowledge to reexamine human development pathways in the context of environment.
  • 3. Wildlife Disease Biodiversity & Health Evidence Your image here
  • 4. Wildlife ● Strong narrative around emerging disease and wildlife sources. ● This is based on a general principle that novel organisms ultimately must arise from biodiversity (zoonotic). ● The rare events that do occur usually require intermediary (domestic or peridomestic) hosts/vectors and anthropogenic actions to drive events or emergence. ● Wildlife trade source – legal negligible and illegal unknown ● Absence of data CITES Legal trade species CITES Legal trade source
  • 5. Wildlife is often described as the major source of emerging pathogens – is this true? Haider et al 2020 https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.596944 If you include non- animal source of emerging human pathogens – wildlife ultimate source <43%
  • 6. Biodiversity suffers disease and ill health Natural disease ecological processes, arguably, sustain health in populations. Anthropogenic influences and stressors – starvation, disturbance, pollutants, climate change, disease exposure from humans and domestic animals – unbalanced threat. Mass Mortality Events greatest threat to biodiversity and populations – expression of populations exceeding thresholds of resilience.
  • 7. Urban wildlife and disease vectors Creation of artificial habitats supporting anthropophillic mosquitos and infection e.g. A aegypti Dengue Fever Your image here •Getachew et al 2015 DOI: 10.1155/2015/706276
  • 8. Greening Urban spaces – risk of vector or pathogen host increase? Evidence suggests: If biodiversity is principle of urban greening, risk is low – ecosystemic stabilities – e.g. insect predators and dilution effects. Increased rodent diversity, associated with natural forest, likely reduces risk of viral exposures e.g. lassa fever virus D.Simons 2023 PhD thesis If based on monocultures of vegetation + animals occupying sterile human domain, vector pathogen risk is higher + also higher incidence of allergic reactions through aerial pollen monocultures.
  • 10. Sustainable Development Goals and One Health (historically) Humancentric ● One Health is an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals and ecosystems. It recognizes the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment (including ecosystems) are closely linked and inter-dependent. The approach mobilizes multiple sectors, disciplines and communities at varying levels of society to work together to foster well-being and tackle threats to health and ecosystems, while addressing the collective need for clean water, energy and air, safe and nutritious food, taking action on climate change, and contributing to sustainable development (Quadripartite Advisory Panel)
  • 11. Global trends in human health Category A communicable maternal, perinatal, and nutritional disorders Category B non-communicable disease Category C injury Millions of people Murray and Lopez 1997 Burdenof Disease Heart Mental RTA Cardiovascular Pulmonary Respiratory Infection TB War Diarrhoea HIV Mortality
  • 12. ●Animal Mortality 1. Deliberate killing 2. Starvation 3. Accidental death 4. Parasites 5. Microbial infection 6. Heat or cold 7. Plant toxins 8. Poisons, pollution 9. Thirst 10. Metabolic disease Global trends in animal health
  • 13. Global trends in ecosystems health
  • 14. Scientific Reviews Databases Biodiversity and Health The 7 anthropogenic drivers of disease emergence described in the UNEP report (UNEP & ILRI, 2020) are: • (1)* Increasing demand for animal protein; • (2)* Unsustainable agricultural intensification; • (3)** Increased use and exploitation of wildlife; • (4)** Unsustainable utilization of natural resources accelerated by urbanization, land use change and extractive industries; • (5)* Travel and transportation; • (6)* Changes in food supply chains; • (7)*** Climate change. Evidence base: * significant in endemic and emergent zoonoses **weak with indirect evidence to suggest their role in this process (facilitating drivers). ***moderate with climate change, with a general impact on distribution of hosts, vectors, and pathogens, with associated new emergences and spreading of diseases across geographies. These are often not novel pathogens themselves (yet still described as EIDs), for which there is little direct evidence for a climate effect on their evolution, so far…..
  • 15. Recent in-depth reviews on Biodiversity and Health issues Wildlife and Human Disease Emergence Expert opinion* Semi-systematic review* Major reports around disease issues from wildlife show broad agreement but some contradictions*, mainly the fact that there is little evidence to support direct wildlife human infection as a regular cause of human disease. https://portals.iucn.org/library/node/49880 Kock 2014 https:doi:10.4102/ojvr.v81i2.739
  • 16. Science or Narrative, arising from COVID-19? Biodiversity and Health WOAH WAHIS database Wildlife disease reports voluntary Highly deficient FAO Risk assessment - negligible Opportunism agenda driven
  • 17. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the EU nor the EC can be held responsible for them. Main conclusions: PHC in NCH not fully recognized Most clearly defined in “nature-based care” / disease prevention green prescriptions & “medicinal plants” / traditional medicine Lack of specific tools to support PHC practices Importance of “context” to integrate NCH and PHC: patient’s history and background & context of the PHC professional and of the health issue Overall, knowledge on NCH in PHC in its infancy in both science and practice One Health approach: strengthen collaboration environmental, human, and animal health care sectors for disease control and prevention One Health seminar CliMigHealth - 20211018
  • 18. The results show strong evidence benefit on e.g. cardiovascular health and reduced heat stress related disease
  • 20. Monetary benefits Biodiversity and Health To biodiversity (EEA report circular economy 2023) From biodiversity in reducing health costs….. through NATURE BASED SOLUTIONS
  • 21. Nature Based Solutions to economy ● Mental health problems cost UK economy at least £118 billion a year (LSE 2022) ○ Human–nature interaction throughout the life-course have generally demonstrated potential beneficial associations with mental health and well-being. However, inconsistencies exist in the evidence available in terms of their applied methodologies and reported findings. Spano et al 2021 ● Exposure to biodiversity general positive physical and immunomodulatory effect and developmental (microbiome) effect vital to health ○ Improved general health reduces primary health costs and economic losses through inactivity
  • 22. UN systems Biodiversity and Health ● Health of humans, ecosystems (environment), and agriculture “covered”….but not biodiversity and health
  • 24. MEAs Biodiversity and Health ● Numerous MEAs with some linkage to health outcomes, whether biodiversity, reducing trade risks to health, migration health concerns, pollution and microbial systems decomposers, chemicalisation, genetic resources and manipulations, heritage and culture etc.
  • 27. Biodiversity & Human Health indicators/linkages ● Natural animal and plant resource historically sustained nutrition of human populations directly, now more indirectly. ● Natural resource provided majority of medicinal products historically, subsequently chemically analysed and synthesised. ● Contribution of natural resource to livelihoods, infrastructure, housing and economical wealth of humans. ● Contribution of nature to human mental health and well-being through exposure to a biodiverse environment, animals and plants. ● Developmental and microbiome benefits from exposure to natural environment ● Contribution of biodiversity to agriculture (e.g. pollinators) and sustained nutrition ● Contribution of microbial biodiversity to decomposition, nutrient and energy recycling. ● Contribution of nature to clean air and water, atmosphere and climate stability.
  • 28. co-benefits of conservation & ecological restoration Biodiversity and Health Ecosystem services ➢ Ecosystemic stabilities restored ➢ Biodiversity conserved Clean air and water Climate buffer Natural waste processing (decomposers) Pathogen dilution effect (someX countered by amplification) Pathogen buffering (reduced environmental load) Opportunity for diverse quality nutrition (fish and terrestrial animal harvest)
  • 29. Conclusive narrative Biodiversity and health have a nexus, expressed mostly in human terms (impact, benefit), and less so in health of animals and plants but the natural ecologies are fundamental to population health. Microbial community is a neglected element, vital with positive and negative interactions with higher animals, and where ecosystemic stabilities are dependent on biodiversity and ecosystems integrity and function. Current global systems do not address biodiversity and health in any meaningful way, and no UN institution has the mandate for this. International and even less so National health agencies are not focused on wildlife or biodiversity in any significant way. Interactions are complex and poorly researched or understood with strong narratives, created from a vacuum. Methodologies are lacking and capacities highly deficient. Rather like environment, generally, biodiversity and health are casualties to human development and activity not dissimilar to climate and health, and perhaps should be tackled in a similar manner. Fundamental to existence of life, requiring global implementable policies and regulatory mechanisms that are enforceable. Achieving circular economies, post humanist in outlook, supportive of biodiversity and ecosystems, rather than subsumed to circuits of capital in decline along with natural resources.
  • 30. Thank you for your attention! Richard Kock richardakock@icloud.com Coming soon www.coop4cbd.eu Follow COOP4CBD