NewsSix countries join Nature for Health to advance global efforts in upstream pandemic prevention

Press Release image N4H December 2022

N4H Fund. The Nature for Health Initiative (N4H) hosted a side event at the CBD COP 15 in Montreal to introduce its first partner countries: Ecuador, Ghana, Mongolia, Rwanda, Vietnam and Zambia.

These Country Partners will work with the N4H Consortium Partners, leading UN agencies, intergovernmental organisations and civil society groups in the field of environment and health, to reduce the risk of pandemics through upstream prevention of zoonotic disease spillover.

Zoonotic diseases such as SARS, Ebola and Zika are emerging as a result of environmental degradation, climate change, land use changes, biodiversity loss, animal husbandry and wildlife trade and consumption. 75% of new human infectious diseases originate with animals and then spill over into humans and this figure is increasing due to anthropogenic pressures.

The human suffering and economic cost of pandemics are enormous: COVID-19 has already caused over 6.5 million deaths and cost the global economy USD 13.5 trillion. The price of prevention is estimated to be just a small fraction of this cost – at most 1%.

During the side event, countries discussed how prevention can be achieved by investing in the upstream environmental drivers of zoonotic pandemics, stopping them from emerging in the first place. N4H and its Country Partners explored how to overcome potential barriers and advance the post-2020 global biodiversity framework currently being negotiated under the auspices of CBD COP 15.

The side event featured high-level addresses, including by Ministers from the Country Partners and a panel discussion between diverse expert voices in the preventative One Health space. The focus was on preparation for the N4H implementation phase which will demonstrate the linkages between biodiversity, climate change and pandemicrisk whilst advancing the implementation of One Health at the national level. The side event closed with a discussion around next steps and N4H’s role in contributing to an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

The event was convened by N4H and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), who have generously funded the first phase of N4H’s work through an initial contribution of 50m EUR via Germany’s International Climate Initiative (IKI) to the Nature4Health trust fund, administered by the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, the UN center of expertise in UN inter-agency pooled funds.