A Focus on the Connection Between Biodiversity and Public Health
MoEP rep. at the Montreal meeting, Nov. 2015
The impact of biodiversity on human health was one of the topics explored at an international meeting in Montreal in early November. A Ministry of Environmental Protection representative joined some 600 other international delegates at the 19th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 19). The meeting was aimed at discussing the effectiveness of measures taken by governments around the world to implement a biodiversity agenda, and to mainstream biodiversity into sustainable development.

​The biodiversity agenda is part of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets – 20 specific targets to preserve biodiversity. The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity was created by Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). Israel, a Party to the Convention, adopted the plan in October 2010.

The relationship between biodiversity and human health is being examined in the wake of a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CBD Secretariat, entitled Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health, a State of Knowledge Review. This review includes an exploration of how the existence of functioning ecosystems affects, inter alia:

  1. food security
  2. provision of clean air and water
  3. resources for the development of new drugs, and
  4. mental health.


Deterioration of ecosystems, on the other hands, leads to crises including the outbreak of disease, the spread of invasive species that harm public health, and to the undermining of food security.

Delegates at the meeting stressed that actions to foster positive associations between maintaining public health and biological diversity are central to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, which were agreed upon in early 2015. A memo of understanding was recently signed between the WHO and the CBD, to ensure continued focus on this issue.

Recommendations made at the Montreal meeting will be considered by the next Conference of the Parties of the CBD, scheduled for December 2016 in Mexico.