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Biodiversity linked to health – ASEAN

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By Ellalyn De Vera Ruiz

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is geared towards formulating strategies that would integrate biodiversity conservation in the health sector.

“The world is (currently) facing a serious threat of biodiversity loss which will directly affect human health and survival,” ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (ACB) Executive Director Theresa Mundita Lim pointed out.

Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim, Executive Director of the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (R) (ASEAN Center for Biodiversity / MANILA BULLETIN)

Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim, Executive Director of the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (R)
(ASEAN Center for Biodiversity / MANILA BULLETIN)

Lim explained that biodiversity loss is a crosscutting environmental threat that will affect the health sector, as the natural ingredients of medicines come from plants and animals.

“Losing our biodiversity means losing the source of raw materials for our medicines. It is important that government agencies and pharmaceutical companies integrate biodiversity conservation in their policies, decisions and programs. This is one of the many reasons why mainstreaming biodiversity in the health sector is important,” Lim emphasized.

To address the threats, a workshop will be conducted to address inter-linkages between human health and biodiversity in the ASEAN region.

The three-day workshop will convene experts from the ministries of environment and health of the ASEAN member-states to discuss national experiences and best practices on mainstreaming biodiversity and health, and incorporating biodiversity considerations in national and regional health programs.

Hosting the event are the Philippines’ Department of Health, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in cooperation with the World Health Organization, secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and United Nations University’s Institute for International Global Health.

The advocacy also highlights the importance of biodiversity in sustainable development, poverty reduction, climate change adaptation and mitigation, business, trade and international cooperation.

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