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WWF Comes up With Actions to Fight Against Future Pandemics

Aiswarya R Nair
Aiswarya R Nair

More than half a year has passed and still, the scientists are figuring out the root cause for the COVID-19 pandemic.  According to the reports by World Wide Fund (WWF), over the last 30 years, approximately 60-70 per cent of the new diseases that emerged in humans had a zoonotic origin, that is, it originated from wild animals. 

The increased emergence of zoonotic diseases is due to two widespread environmental risks: 

1. Land conversion is destroying and fragmenting forests and other natural habitats around the world. This further results in higher levels of contact between wildlife, livestock and humans. 

2. Poor food safety standards, including permitting the trade and consumption of high-risk wildlife species are increasing the potential of human exposure to diseases during handling and preparation practices.

So to reduce the risk of future pandemics and to have a close relationship with the nature WWF has come up with some strategies. 

Advises the governments to: 

  • Halt illicit wildlife trade. 

  • Introduce and enforce legislation and policy actions to eliminate deforestation and conversion from supply chains. 

  • Protect natural habitats and safeguard the diversity of life. 

  • Design COVID-19 economic recovery packages to ensure a green and even transition and stimulate increased investment in sustainable and resilient business models. 

  • Support vulnerable communities to protect their food security and livelihoods in sustainable and resilient ways, including the recognition of indigenous peoples’ land and water rights.

Advises the public to:  

  • Engage with the government representatives to ensure that they commit to a New Deal for Nature and People by taking action to protect natural ecosystems.
  • Call on industries to demonstrate leadership by decreasing the negative impacts on society and the environment.
  • Change the dietary and consumption habits to make more sustainable choices.

Thus, the people and the government should go hand-in-hand. Many countries like New Zealand and Japan are developing and distributing unprecedented stimulus recovery packages. The actions include: 

  • Linking stimulus packages and public investments to positive action for climate, nature and the Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Stimulus packages that help local communities develop alternative livelihood alternatives, like in the tourism sector, for protecting their rights.

  • Providing debt relief in a way that supports economic resilience through investment in a sustainable development trajectory.

  • Working with financial institutions to incorporate both climate and nature risks, such as the multiple impacts of deforestation and fragmentation, in their investment decisions.

'Although we cannot always foresee and prevent these diseases, we can act to heal our relationship with nature and reduce the risk of future pandemics.' 

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