New Eklipse evidence report released: “Biodiversity and pandemics: Interdisciplinary research and action priorities.”

The report outlines science policy recommendations regarding biodiversity and pandemics with the goal of developing transformative policies for human, animal, and ecosystem health

December 14, 2023

The final knowledge synthesis report from the Eklipse Expert Working Group (EWG) on biodiversity and pandemics has now been released. This report outlines science policy recommendations regarding biodiversity and pandemics that need to be implemented in order to develop broader transformative policies for human, animal, and ecosystem health. In particular, the report focuses on policies to support and promote research needed to prevent and manage spillover events in which pathogens originating in wildlife cause disease outbreaks or even pandemics in humans or domesticated animals.

Eklipse was created in 2016 to help governments, institutions, businesses, and NGOs make better-informed decisions when it comes to biodiversity and ecosystem services in Europe. The new report comes from a request put forward to Eklipse by the European Commission services, followed by a cross-sectoral consortium of requesters. The European Commission granted additional funding to Eklipse, under the H2020 Green Deal Call, as part of the EU response to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to answer policy-relevant needs for evidence related to biodiversity and pandemics. The policy needs behind this request was identified through an online cross-sectoral workshop co-organised in May 2021 by Eklipse and the European Commission - Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity (EC-KCBD). The workshop brought representatives from a range of European Commission services together with experienced scientists to identify challenges and evidence needs related to the links between biodiversity and human health, including zoonotic and other infectious diseases. This workshop was then followed by an online Focus Group inviting key stakeholders to narrow down the request to be processed by an independent EWG.

The agreed aim of the request was to use science to optimise coordination and coherence across policy sectors, thereby building better resilience and response strategies in the context of the interface between biodiversity and pandemics.

Active from July 2022 to November 2023, the EWG was co-chaired by Dr. Adam Izdebski of MPI GEA and composed of scientists with relevant expertise in the natural, biomedical, and social sciences.. Using existing research and literature, the EWG formulated recommendations for shaping a strategic research agenda on biodiversity and pandemics. These recommendations address the critical interlinkages between relevant sectors and stakeholders via targeted transdisciplinary research to make future actions more effective and offer a number of suggestions to bring about transformative change to how research is carried out, organised, and financed.

"Working with such a diverse body of experts was really inspiring,” says Izdebski. “It is indeed very exciting that the EU authorities have requested this report and that we could do it within the now well-established Eklipse consultation framework!"

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