Daily Management Review

UN: Humanity's actions are the primarily cause of COVID-19 pandemic


UN environmental experts published a study that shows the relationship between environmental change and growing cases of transmission of viruses from animals to humans (zoonotic diseases), which, in particular, resulted in the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The UN, and earlier researchers at Harvard University, believe that the cause of increased zoonotic diseases can be activities of the humanity: climate change, disruption of the ecological balance due to extensive agriculture, environmental pollution and deforestation.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has published a large-scale study on the increasing incidence of animal-to-human transmission of diseases (zoonotic infections) and related epidemics among people: SARS, swine flu, Ebola, Zika, West Nile Fever, and now COVID-19. The study was prepared by a team team of scientists from Germany, France, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the USA, China, South Africa, and Kenya.
Experts believe that the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is not an accident, and its causes lie in the systemic failure of the ecological balance caused by humans.
The report notes that zoonotic infections have arisen since the Neolithic and provoked some major pandemics, such as the bubonic plague pandemic in the late Middle Ages and the influenza pandemic at the beginning of the 20th century. But as the population is approaching 8 billion, the "rapid expansion" of mankind brings people and the animal world as close as possible, which leads to an easier spread of diseases between different species. “As we develop more and more distant lands and regions, we ourselves create the conditions for the transmission of diseases,” says Eric Fevre, professor of veterinary infectious diseases at the University of Liverpool.
The UN report says: “The frequency of transmission of pathogenic microorganisms from animals to humans is increasing due to human activities that reduce environmental sustainability. Pandemics like the outbreak of COVID-19 are the predictable and expected result of how people get and grow food, sell and consume animals, and change the environment.” Experts identify several main reasons for such changes, including:
unsustainable intensive development of agriculture;
expansion of the use and exploitation of the animal world;
unsustainable use of natural resources, rapid urbanization, changes in land use and extractive industries;
changing of the climate.
UN experts believe that now humanity needs to take urgent measures to reduce the risks of future zoonotic pandemics that threaten humanity itself. Among the recommendations are:
expansion of scientific research on the environmental aspects of zoonotic diseases;
full financial reporting on the impact of disease on society; strengthening monitoring and regulation of food systems using risk-based approaches;
abandoning unsustainable agricultural practices;
development and implementation of more stringent biosafety measures; building the capacity of health stakeholders to integrate environmental health aspects.
“The most important thing is that we need to work together - both for governments and citizens, and for the private sector,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.

source: un.org