ASEAN calls for nature’s conservation to prevent future pandemics
The ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC) and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) emphasized the linkages of biodiversity and health and regional efforts to integrate biodiversity conservation into the COVID-19 response.
In a recent webinar, Deputy Secretary-General (DSG) of ASEAN for Socio-Cultural Community Kung Phoak underscored the importance of nature-based solutions to prevent future pandemics through cross-sectoral collaboration and multi-stakeholder engagement, as part of ASEAN’s agenda on mainstreaming biodiversity across relevant sectors.
This, while also encouraging individuals and community to become ‘bio-literate’ to adopt behaviours that address the root cause of future pandemic and zoonosis.
ACB Executive Director Theresa Mundita Lim, a wildlife management expert, stressed the need for greater cooperation within ASEAN and with other regional bodies and governments of the world to prevent future pandemics as “COVID-19 may not be the last.”
She cited a data that there may be around 1.7 million unidentified viruses believed to still exist in mammals and water birds that can infect people.
“The decline of species can trigger the spillover of viruses that are dormant or inactive, leading to their transmission to both domestic animals and humans. This grim data should serve as a warning to all of us,” Lim said.