Global cooperation on health and nature issues in the (longer) wake of COVID-19

FNI Report 4/2022. Lysaker, FNI, 2022, 19 p. 

The era of globalization has brought many people out of poverty, but in the wake of COVID-19 inequality is raising. The pandemic highlighted the natureand climate crises, and both are likely to hit poor people the hardest. Dwindling wilderness, loss of biodiversity and ecosystems have led humans and their domesticated animals in closer proximity to wild animals – increasing the likelihood of zoonotic-based diseases. Constituencies expect governments to be prepared and handle pandemics – and today’s medicinal technology has responded more quickly than ever before. China is central to the debates on the origin of COVID-19 and on vaccine developments. These linkages have had a brief appearance within global health and environment arenas: The concept of ‘One Health’ has been discussed in the WHO, the CBD, UNEP, the EU, OECD, IPBES and IPCC. In this report, we examine the ongoing debates on health and environment linkages – and the policies they produce. Where are these debates heading and do we see a trend towards greater policy interaction between the knowledge-silos separating health and the environment? Are responding policies likely to increase or lighten the burden of the world’s poor? What is the role of China in development aid in Africa? And how does China handle its role as host to COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity?