WHO and CBD Hold Workshop on Interlinkages between Human Health and Biodiversity

April 2012: The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) recently convened a workshop on the interlinkages between human health and biodiversity.

Participants included representatives from multiple WHO departments and regional offices, the CBD, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and members of the scientific community.

The workshop took place on 2 April 2012, in Geneva, Switzerland, and focused on how the implementation of the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity can best support efforts to address global health issues. Participants discussed a number of areas that provide opportunities for overlapping policy goals. Potential inter-linkages were considered for infectious diseases and ecosystem integrity, non-communicable diseases and the co-benefits to biodiversity, traditional medicines and genetic diversity, ecosystem services, and climate change adaptation.

The three outcomes that are highlighted in the workshop summary note are: WHO and the CBD will jointly implement select activities, including writing and launching the discussion paper “Review of Health in the Rio Conventions” and the regional capacity-building workshops on biodiversity and health interlinkages; workshop participants welcome efforts to continue collaboration and dialogue in the future; and workshop participants “generally support the establishment and/or strengthening of collaborative mechanisms on human health and biodiversity interlinkages, subject to the needs of partners, for example through virtual/online platforms, liaison groups, partnership agreements, etc., as appropriate.” [CBD webpage for the workshop]