IISD in the news

Health in global biodiversity governance: what is next?

The dependency of human health and wellbeing on nature is documented across disciplines, regions, cultures, and economies. Environmental degradation contributes substantially to the global burden of disease and concurrent global environmental changes are increasingly recognised as public health threats, worldwide. The 196 parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have called for increased engagement on biodiversity and health since 2014, while calls from stakeholders for integrated decision making are similarly long standing. Yet few civil society health organisations have historically engaged with the CBD and its intergovernmental negotiating process. This situation is, however, changing. In 2022, civil society health professionals and organisations were involved in the CBD agenda-setting (intersessional subsidiary body) and decision-making (Conference of the Parties [COP]) meetings. Five civil society health organisations attended the 15th UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) in Montréal, Canada, as newly accredited delegations to the CBD. The new participation of these organisations in global biodiversity governance embodies the interdisciplinary work needed to take a whole-of-society approach to respecting planetary boundaries and prioritising the environmental determinants of health. The agenda of the UN CBD recognises and increasingly includes health. Now is the time to mobilise contributions from diverse health experts to inform integrated policy.

January 26, 2023