Trust Fund Factsheet
Tools for » Biodiversity for Health and Pandemic Prevention MPTF
In Focus

Fund Dates:

Start date: 1 December 2021

End date: 31 December 2030

 

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The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how strongly interlinked biodiversity, climate change and human wellbeing are. Changes in land use in combination with overuse of natural resources and the effects of climate change (floods, droughts, forest fires, heat island effects, among others) lead to the degradation or destruction of entire ecosystems. This results in the loss of natural protective barriers (ie. functioning ecosystems) against disease emergence and in alterations of the geographic distribution of species. Higher diversity can lead to lower infection rates, as host density is reduced for some infectious diseases.    

  

Wildlife habitat fragmentation via, for instance, infrastructure development and urbanization contribute to diversity reduction and increases the probability of interaction between disease vectors and new hosts, such as humans or domestic animals. Conservation of ecosystems, the establishment of ecological corridors and other effective areabased conservation measures (OECM) contribute to the dilution effect and hence to disease prevention. A variety of abiotic and biotic factors, as well as dynamic ecological processes also can play important roles in disease emergence. Human and domestic animal health can be affected if wild animals and their microbes experience a loss or degradation of their natural habitats, which can also cause them to migrate to areas in closer proximity to humans and domesticated animals. These factors increase the risk of spill over events for infectious diseases, including novel infections.  

  

Unsustainable and unregulated exploitation of wild animals through extensive, unsustainable hunting, trade and consumption promotes close contact between animals and humans and can pose risk to human health. Unsustainable forms and intensification of agriculture and livestock management further contribute to pathogen spill-overs. Infection outbreaks are common in animal farming facilities, where animals are often confined to extremely small areas under unsanitary conditions.  

 

Climate change exacerbates these challenges since it has a direct impact both on ecosystem health and disease transmission. Changes in temperature and precipitation lead to changes in the geographic range and lifecycles of host and vector species and can lead to the emergence of new diseases in areas where they were previously unknown. The lifecycles of pathogens can also be extremely sensitive to temperature, humidity and other climatic factors. A vicious cycle has been set in motion, as anthropogenic destruction of nature and unsustainable agriculture and livestock practices are contributing to increased greenhouse gas emissions, intensifying climate variability and further increasing the risk of novel disease emergence.  

 

Other negative impacts on human and animal health are related to pollution and antimicrobial resistance due to indiscriminate use of antibiotics and other medicines, particularly in animal rearing, which makes diseases harder to treat. Resistant microbes can be retained and spread through the environment through water, soil and other means. Additionally, as evidenced by the current COVID-19 situation, pandemics pose unprecedented challenges on local conservation actions as public budgets are reallocated away from conservation toward public health measures and health emergencies.  

 

The prevention of zoonotic disease emergence and spread and other health related risks requires strategically interlinked approaches in different sectors to contribute meaningful and effectively to One Health (OH) outcomes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States of America, OH is a “collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach — working at the local, regional, national, and global levels — with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.” A key concept in this context is Nature-based Solutions (NbS), defined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as actions aimed at protecting, sustainably managing, and restoring ecosystems to address societal challenges adaptively that result in positive outcomes for human well-being and biodiversity.  

 

Nature based solutions that incorporate not only aspects related with environmental health, but also animal and human health can be consistent with the principles enshrined in the One Health (OH) approach. Reducing future health risks and increasing resilience is essential for “building back better”, which means tackling the root causes of the current pandemic as key for effective prevention of zoonotic disease outbreaks in the future. However, veterinary and public health sectors tend to focus most of their resources and energy on disease treatment and, with the onset of current COVID-19 pandemic, on future outbreak preparedness. They often leave aside long-term prevention, which necessarily requires the strengthening of biodiversity and other related environmental considerations into One Health. Conversely, policymakers and other stakeholders in environment-related sectors and protected area managers in different countries usually do not have the capacities or resources to integrate disease prevention into planning, management and implementation of conservation and sustainable-use actions. 

 

One Health approaches should include strengthening systemic approaches to disease risk monitoring at the landscape level both inside and outside protected areas. Cross-sectoral assessments are necessary. This means ecological circumstances (e.g. changing weather patterns and its impact on species) as well as socio-economic (e.g. use and handling of biological resources, human encroachment of animal habitat), political and legalistic (e.g. lack of enforcement) “blind spots” in the sense of pandemic risk prevention need to be detected and addressed. This holistic and evidence-based mapping of risk hotspots needs to complement improving national laboratories’ capacities to monitor disease emergence in wildlife, and improving public health policies and programmes to integrate environmental health aspects.  

 

The required capacities are diverse and need to be employed at different levels. Pandemic prevention also requires building more sustainable and resilient systems in agriculture, food systems, forestry and fishery, strengthening biodiversity conservation and ecosystem restoration to augment nature´s buffer-functions, adaptation to climate change impacts as well as promotion of sustainable income, livelihoods and supply chains to reduce disease emergence and increase resilience of target groups. Activities are needed at different levels, from grass-roots and national level action to regional and global. In order to operationalize OH effectively, implementation of the above-mentioned lines of work will require thorough inter-sectorial dialogue and cooperation. Furthermore, close cooperation with science and research, such as on emerging knowledge about mechanisms of spill-overs, risk monitoring and effective prevention strategies will be essential. Essential will also be the effective inclusion of traditional knowledge and mechanisms for social uptake. The challenges but also the potentials of OH related approaches are increasingly acknowledged by governments, international organisations, scientists and civil society organisations.  

 

Milestones on the relation between biodiversity and pandemics were provided for instance in UNEP’s 2020 Report “Preventing the Next Pandemic: Zoonotic Diseases and How to Break the Chain of Transmission”, by the workshop convened in 2020 by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and by the establishment of a new One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP) in 2021, to support improved action by the “Tripartite Alliance for One Health” of WHO, FAO, OIE, and also UNEP.  

 

As a signal for new priority setting, G7-leaders endorsed at their Summit 2021 the establishment of a One Health Working Group and appreciated a new WHO Global Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence in Berlin. The health working group of the G20 has also prioritized One Health with an anticipated Ministerial Call to Action.  

 

These emerging cooperation networks, initiatives, and concept developments offer potentials for this Programme to benefit from synergies of global attention and political will, advocacy and knowledge generation and exchange on OH approaches as well as concrete cooperation and interconnectedness among various sectors. Concretely, this Programme will aim at mainstreaming and strengthening biodiversity considerations into OH to strengthen nature´s role in preventing disease emergence and pandemic risk. 

 

 

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Key Figures
Funding Status
Participating Organizations are required to submit final year-end expenditures by April 30 in the following year; Interim expenditure figures are submitted on a voluntary basis and therefore current year figures are not final until the year-end expenditures have been submitted.
Total as of
Values in US$
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Funds with Administrative Agent
Contributions from Donors 56,465,000  
Interest and Investment Income (from Fund) 14,908  
Interest (from Participating Organizations) 0  
Total source of funds   56,479,908
Transferred to Participating Organizations 0  
Refunds from Participating Organizations 0  
Administrative Agent Fee 564,650  
Direct Cost 1,962,487  
Bank Charges 2  
Total use of funds   2,527,139
Balance with Administrative Agent   53,952,768
As a percentage of deposits   95.6%
Funds with Participating Organizations
Transfers to Participation Organizations 1,962,487  
Total resources   1,962,487
Participating Organizations' Expenditure 0  
Refunds from Participating Organizations 0  
Total expenses     0
Balance with Participating Organizations   1,962,487
As a percentage of transfers   100.0%
Total Balance of Funds   55,915,255
As a percentage of deposits   99.0%
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Contacts

For Policy and Programme Issues

Biodiversity for Health and Pandemic Prevention MPTF Secretariat

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For Fund Administrative Agent Issues

Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office), Bureau of Management, United Nations Development Programme; Fax: +1 212 906 6990;  

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