Health & Policy Initiatives
Despite the strong inter-dependencies of people, animals and the environment, wildlife and ecosystem health are typically not adequately considered in the development of human health, agriculture, or conservation policies. As a result, these initiatives are missing the critical piece of the health and biodiversity puzzle. Policy often ends up lacking in science-driven guidance, and responses are reactive rather than proactive in predicting and preventing health and conservation threats.
EcoHealth Alliance has a core focus of translating its strong ecosystem health science into actionable information for health policy makers. For example, on a local level, EcoHealth Alliance presented on the scale and impacts of the illegal wildlife trade in New York to the state’s District Attorney Association to raise awareness among prosecutors. On a national level, EcoHealth Alliance provided scientific guidance through invited briefings to Congressional and White House officials on pandemic prevention and control and natural resource management. This was especially relevant given the U.S. government’s growing focus on global health security and concerns over the illegal wildlife trade.
Towards shared conservation goals, EcoHealth Alliance also continued its fruitful collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), providing the ecosystem health perspective at a regional workshop in Brazil hosted by the CBD and the World Health Organization. EcoHealth Alliance also provided input on the CBD’s publication, Healthy Planet, Healthy People – A Guide to Human Health and Biodiversity. EcoHealth Alliance has also continued to provide ecosystem and public health policy expertise to intergovernmental organizations including the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization (FAO), including expert advice on avian influenza and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).
Internationally, EcoHealth Alliance has worked with government partners from health, agriculture, and wildlife agencies to develop surveillance programs and processes that enable early detection of disease risks for both humans and animals. EcoHealth Alliance provided technical and editorial support for the IUCN-OIE Guidelines to Wildlife Disease Risk Analysis, which will serve as a resource for governments, wildlife managers, and land-use planners to promote more proactive consideration and mitigation of disease risks.
Recognizing the importance of both regulatory approaches and corporate practices to health and the environment, EcoHealth Alliance strives to also work closely with private industry to develop sustainable and healthy practices. Across the world and on local levels, EcoHealth Alliance staff and partners engage policy makers and industry partners to provide sound guidance based on science and build capacity to more efficiently and effectively promote wildlife and domestic animal health, public health, and natural resource management.