Biodiversity and Health Connections: One Health Solutions for People and Planet


Biodiversity and ecosystems provide a wide range of contributions to health and well-being; however, these benefits are not routinely considered in health and development decision-making processes. With the increasing frequency and impact of disease emergencies linked to environmental and animal sources, expertise from environmental science and management is critically needed to improve prevention and detection of disease threats. Encouragingly, there are ample opportunities for collaboration between conservation and health communities to tackle shared drivers of biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation, and ill health.

The One Health concept recognizes connections between human, animal and environmental health and can inform integrated monitoring, planning, and evaluation to optimize co-benefits and account for potential trade-offs. Evidence syntheses and recommendations such as the WHO-CBD State of Knowledge Review on Biodiversity and Human Health and Biodiversity-Inclusive One Health Guidance can be leveraged for design and implementation of national biodiversity strategies and parallel human and animal health sector frameworks. The webinar will provide background on biodiversity and health links, highlight recent developments in international policy and operations, and identify points of entry for the conservation community to engage on health issues to amplify its positive impact. Health considerations offer a key pathway for biodiversity mainstreaming in the Post-2020 biodiversity framework and broader sustainable development agenda.

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About the Speaker

Catherine Machalaba serves as a policy advisor and research scientist at EcoHealth Alliance, a scientific non-profit organization that works at the nexus of conservation, global health, and capacity strengthening. Her research focuses on integrated solutions to target the drivers and impacts of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases. She works closely with the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and World Health Organization, and was a lead author of the World Bank “Operational Framework for Strengthening Human, Animal and Environmental Public Health Systems at their Interface” published in 2018 to assist countries and donor institutions in implementing One Health approaches. Catherine is a program officer for the IUCN SSC Wildlife Health Specialist Group, and holds leadership roles in the global sustainability research platform Future Earth and the American Public Health Association. Prior to joining EcoHealth Alliance in 2010 she worked in a variety of public health and healthcare settings. She holds degrees in biology and public health.