June 2015

(Last updated: 7th June 2015)

Connecting Global Priorities - Biodiversity and Human Health

World Health Organisation and Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity publish

major state of knowledge review

A field of meadwosweet - the origin of aspirin - at Athlone, Ireland

A ground-breaking report on biodiversity and health, launched on 4th June at European Green Week 2015 in Brussels, Belgium, shows the significant contribution of biodiversity and ecosystem services to better human health.

The report, Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health, is published by the World Health Organisation and the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. It demonstrates that the relationship between biodiversity and human health is extensive and complex. It outlines the ways that the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity has positive impacts on human health, including through impacts on water and air quality, nutrition, non-communicable and infectious diseases, and medicines, among others.

Contributions from over 100 scientists and practitioners working in global public health and biodiversity conservation policy were included in the report, including experts from Bioversity International, COHAB Initiative, DIVERSITAS, EcoHealth Alliance, Harvard School of Public Health, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, IUCN, United Nations University, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The full report is now freely available online at:, and (or click on cover image above).


Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health - a state of knowledge review

World Health Organistion & Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity

June 2015; ISBN 978 92 4 150853 7

Table of Contents:

Part I. Concepts, Themes & Directions

1. Introduction to the State of Knowledge Review

2. Biodiversity and human health linkages: concepts, determinants, drivers of change and approaches to integration


Part II. Thematic Areas in Biodiversity & Health

3. Freshwater, wetlands, biodiversity and human health

4. Biodiversity, air quality and human health

5. Agricultural biodiversity, food security and human health

6. Biodiversity and Nutrition

7. Infectious diseases

8. Environmental microbial diversity and non-communicable diseases

9. Biodiversity and biomedical discovery

10. Biodiversity, health care & pharmaceuticals

11. Traditional medicine

12. Contribution of biodiversity and green spaces to mental and physical fitness, and cultural dimensions of health

Part III: Cross-Cutting Issues, Tools & Ways Forward

13. Climate change, biodiversity and human health

14. Increasing resilience and disaster risk reduction: the value of biodiversity and ecosystem approaches to resistance, resilience and relief

15. Population, consumption and the demand for resources; pathways to sustainability

16. Integrating health and biodiversity: strategies, tools and further research  

The State of Knowledge Review was prepared by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the World Health Organization, in collaboration with several partners including: Bioversity International, COHAB Initiative, DIVERSITAS, Ecohealth Alliance, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research (PAR), United Nations University-Institute for Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), United Nations University -International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH), Wildlife Conservation Society, Health and Ecosystems Analysis of Linkages (WCS-HEAL) and several other partners and experts.


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