Biodiversity and human health are themes of new reports

Notícia publicada em:

  • 1 de Outubro de 2015

Organized by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the first report, entitled Biodiversity and human health: connecting global priorities, was presented by the Executive Secretary of CBD, Bráulio Dias. With 16 chapters that deal with the interface between biodiversity and human health, the report aims to be the basis for the construction of public policies proposals. The report, which indicates the direct relationships between environmental change and disease risks, points out that the factors impacting biodiversity loss are the same that affect human health. “Land use change causes re-emerging diseases such as malaria, the over-exploitation of biological resources causes the incidence of pests that cause hantavirus outbreak, the desertification of the oceans threatens food security in the world and the air contamination kills 2 million people a year,” warned Dias.

One of the cases for which the report draws attention is about simplified and industrialized farming, which, by reducing the amount of ingredients in food, carries a higher risk of pests and, consequently, of disease transmission. “Today there is much talk on the need to increase food production. But, first of all, you have to think about how to qualify and diversify this production, since poor diet is directly associated with the growth of chronic inflammatory diseases”, said Dias.

The report also reveals that 15 of the 24 ecosystem services are in decline in the world. And yet the recent concept of “planetary boundaries”, which concerns the finitude of ecosystems in many parts of the world and its consequences. Examples of these planetary limits, Dias cited the extinction of cod in the Atlantic Ocean and the acidity of the sea that is causing the death of coral reefs. The report also shows that, worldwide, 90% of fish populations are collapsing, 20% of the dry lands are becoming deserts, 120 million people live in areas affected by desertification, 60 million natives depend on the forest to survive, and 33% of the world’s population is having water restrictions.

Global Health: safeguarding human health at the anthropocentric time

With the theme Global Health: safeguarding human health at the anthropocentric time, the second report, produced by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Lancet Commission, was presented by professor of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (England), Andy Haines. The report points out that health effects arising from changes in the environment, such as ocean acidification, climate change, land degradation, water scarcity, over-exploitation of fisheries and loss of biodiversity, brings great challenges to the gains obtained in the field of global health in recent decades.

The report identifies the physical and biological processes and systems that most affect the maintenance of the planet and of mankind: climate change, the depletion of the stratosphere, the acidification of the oceans, the use of drinking water, the health of the biosphere, the land use change and biogeochemical fluxes. “Substantial changes in these systems could produce irreversible changes in the environment and would be disadvantageous to human health and development”, reinforces the document. The three main factors that have led to changes in the environment, according to the report, are population growth and unsustainable consumption and technology.

The report even proposes solutions to the problem of environmental degradation and its consequences for health. Among them, the development of sustainable and healthy cities, efficient use of water, the use of sustainable agriculture, adopting dietary changes and in the handling of the land, the creation of new sources of nutrition and conservation of forests. Haines also highlighted the need for integrated and several health systems, detecting the risk of diseases in advance to their appearance as well as the expansion of access to modern family planning. “There are several solutions and these must be based on the redefinition of what is prosperity, so that we can thus rescue the quality of life and achieve improvements in health,” concluded the professor.

Fiocruz Role

Present at the closure of the event, the President of Fiocruz, Paulo Gadelha, pointed out that the Foundation should play an important role with regard to the presence of the theme among the central axes of the Ministry of Health. “The Foundation has the advantage of having a national presence that brings local and global knowledge to discuss and study the subject”, he said.

The General Coordinator of Cris/Fiocruz, Paulo Buss, drew attention to the recent signing of the document Agenda 2030, which integrates the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDO). He recalled that some of these Goals refer to the guarantee of a healthy life for all and to biodiversity. “Our role is to make the translation to Brazil of which was signed in New York. We have to watch scientifically and politically how the 17 SDO will be combined to the Agenda of the country”, he said.

The Health and Environment Advisor to the Vice Presidency, Attention and Health Promotion (VPAAPS/Fiocruz), Guilherme Franco Netto, said that the Foundation should enter into cooperation with the Botanical Garden seeking rapprochement of agendas for the scope of the proposals contained in the two reports. The Coordinator of the Center for Information on Health (CISS), Marcia Chame, gave a presentation on the work of the Center, which has its activities focused on the interface between biodiversity and health. She added that Fiocruz can give an even greater contribution in the area. “The Foundation can go beyond issues related to infectious diseases, air pollution, pesticides, and communication and technology. As this is not a simple knowledge being passed, it brings us a great challenge: to make decision makers understand all these processes and insert these issues on political agendas and in their own life”, he said.

The researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC/Fiocruz), Daniel Buss, recalled some of the actions of the Foundation in the construction of proposals on health and biodiversity and strengthened the importance of the participation of the institution in this type of initiative. “One should not discuss only the impact of the deterioration of biodiversity in human health, but also the benefits that high biodiversity can bring to health, as well as the impact of health systems on biodiversity”, warned the researcher, who participated in the review of the report Biodiversity and human health: connecting global priorities.

Source: Agência Fiocruz de Notícias.