A special meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA) has been called to decide on measures that should be taken to protect the world from future infectious diseases potent from causing a pandemic.
The meeting has launched a global process to draft and negotiate a convention, agreement, or another international instrument under the constitution of the WHO to enhance pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.
Vice President of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Susan Lieberman, supported the decision made by WHA about pandemic preparedness. WCS can include equitable and strong science-based approaches to prevent pandemics, such as actions on wildlife markets, forest degradation, and associated biodiversity loss.
(WCS aims to protect the wildlife and wild places in the world through science, conservation action, education, motivating people to value nature.
There’s an urgent need to reduce the risk of pathogen spillover from animals to humans that have the potential to become local outbreaks, epidemics, or global pandemics.
To limit the consequential pathogen spillover from wildlife to humans, the use of wildlife has to be changed. The encroaching of nature animals has to stop to avoid contact with animals.
Commercial trade and sale of live wildlife, particularly birds and mammals, both legally and illegally should be banned as introducing these in the markets brings them together with their pathogens leading to cross-species transmission and the emergence of novel viruses. WCS has requested WHA to address these issues in their new treaty.
WCS is ready to provide technical and scientific assistance to the Government as they negotiate this new treaty. The Governments of the world must recognise the importance of finding strong, equitable, nature-positive solutions to prevent the next pandemic.