Health and Biodiversity at COP 14
The first ever Inter-Ministerial Roundtable on biodiversity and health was held on 15 November 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., bringing together high level representatives from the environment and health sectors. The High Level Roundtable was co-chaired by H.E. Dr. Hala Zayed, Minister of Health of Egypt and H.E. Karolina Skog, Minister of the Environment of Sweden.
Following presentations by the co-chairs and Dr. Joy St-John, Director General of the World Health Organization, interventions were made by Ministers or high-level representatives of an additional 25 Governments and 6 heads of international organizations.
Dr. Cristiana Pașca Palmer
Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
"Biodiversity loss, climate change and other global changes are posing a new set of social, environmental and development challenges that threaten to further undermine the health gains achieved so far...
While these challenges are daunting, they come with great opportunity for transformational change."
~ Dr. Pașca Palmer
Following the High Level Ministerial Roundtable on Health and Biodiversity, the COP14 decision on biodiversity and health formally adopted, among other elements, a biodiversity inclusive One Health Guidance and called for the development of a Global Plan of Action on Biodiversity and Health in collaboration with WHO under their Joint Work Programme formally established by the COP in 2012.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,
Director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO)
"Ecosystem degradation and climate change are becoming the dominant threats to human survival.
The poorest people and countries are most at risk...
The links between biodiversity and human health are indisputable and we cannot address either in isolation.
We have no choice but to combat these threats to our very existence."
~ Dr. Tedros
The Director General also noted that at the 71st World Health Assembly (WHA) held in May 2018, in which biodiversity and health was discussed as a special standalone issue for the first time, governments indicated that these global priorities should be addressed jointly. The WHA also mapped out the WHO’s contribution to the Convention’s fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties.