Launched 6 July 2020
COVID-19 is just one example of the rising trend of diseases – from Ebola to MERS to West Nile and Rift Valley fevers – caused by viruses that have jumped from animal hosts into the human population.
In the spirit of the United Nations Framework for the Immediate Socio-economic Response to COVID-19, the United Nations Environment Programme has teamed up with the International Livestock Research Institute and other key partners to develop an evidence-based assessment report on the risk of future zoonotic outbreaks.
The report, Preventing the next pandemic: Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission, focuses specifically on the environmental side of the zoonotic dimension of disease outbreaks during the COVID-19 pandemic. It fills a critical knowledge gap and provide policymakers with a better understanding of the context and nature of potential future zoonotic disease outbreaks. It examines the root causes of the COVID-19 pandemic and other zoonoses.
The report also looks at where zoonoses come from and how we can reduce the likelihood of their occurrence. It explores the role of animals, and in particular non-domestic animals, in emerging infectious human diseases. This is essential for our global efforts to improve our response preparedness because the frequency of spillover of pathogenic organisms jumping from animals to humans has been increasing considerably, due to the growing magnitude of our unsustainable natural resource use in today’s world.
The report recommends the need for a One Health approach -- which unites public health, veterinary and environmental expertise -- as the optimal method for preventing as well as responding to zoonotic disease outbreaks and pandemics.