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European Commission Publishes Policy Brief on Biodiversity and Health

October 2011: The European Commission has produced a policy brief that summarizes scientific information on the benefits biodiversity provides for human health and offers policy recommendations.

In particular, the brief discusses medicines from natural products, food security, infectious diseases, green spaces and urban biodiversity, and uncertainties and complexity. The brief includes recommendations on: incorporating health concerns into policy frameworks for action to conserve biodiversity; assessing decisions and policies affecting ecosystems to ensure that management of specific ecosystem services benefit biodiversity more broadly, including via the use of cost-benefit analyses; paying particular attention to climate change as a threat to biodiversity across all ecosystems which can have unpredictable consequences for human health; raising awareness of the potential risks associated with development activities, such as deforestation and afforestation, dam building and farming; and incorporating green spaces into urban planning, combining opportunities for conserving biodiversity with health benefits to the population. [Publication: Science for Environment Policy Issue Nº2: Biodiversity and Health]