Biodiversity and pandemics: the Ipbes report

The underlying causes of pandemics are the same global environmental changes that drive biodiversity loss and climate change

Almost all pandemics are connected to the unsustainable exploitation of the environment due to land-use change, agricultural expansion and intensification, wildlife trade and consumption, and other drivers, that disrupt natural interactions among wildlife and their microbes, increase contact among wildlife, livestock, people, and their pathogens.

This is the main message of the recent report on biodiversity and pandemics published on the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Reducing the frequency and impact of pandemics will require the types of transformative changes called on for conservation and restoration of nature (biodiversity and ecosystem processes) and its benefits to people. These include shifts in societal paradigms, goals and values that replace unsustainable consumption and overuse of biodiversity and strategically reduce the underlying drivers of pandemics.

While many of these potential policies are costly, difficult to execute, and their success uncertain, their cost is dwarfed by the impact of just the current COVID-19 pandemic, let alone the rising tide of future diseases.

Download the report Ipbes Workshop on Biodiversity and Pandemics