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Pandemics to emerge more often: New Report by IPBES

  • IASbaba
  • November 5, 2020
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Pandemics to emerge more often: New Report by IPBES

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health & GS-III – Science and technology

In news

  • In a new report released by the IPBES, the authors have warned that future pandemics will emerge more often, they’ll spread more rapidly, do more damage to the world and kill more people than COVID-19, unless significant measures are taken.

Key takeaways of the report

  • The report notes that COVID-19 is at least the sixth pandemic to have taken place in the last century since the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918.
  • Three of the pandemics were caused by influenza viruses, one by HIV followed by SARS and COVID-19. 
  • While the current pandemic’s origins lie in microbes carried by animals, like all pandemics, its emergence has been entirely driven by human activities.
  • There are over 1.7 million currently ‘undiscovered’ viruses that exist in mammals and birds, out of which up to 827,000 could have the ability to infect people.
  • More than 70% of emerging diseases, such as Ebola, Zika and Nipah, are caused by microbes found in animals that spill over due to contact among wildlife, livestock and people.
  • About 30% of emerging infectious diseases are attributed to land use change, agricultural expansion and urbanisation.
  • The report suggests that pandemic risk can be lowered by reducing the human activities that drive loss of biodiversity, by greater conservation of protected areas and through measures that reduce unsustainable exploitation of high biodiversity regions.

Important value additions 

Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem (IPBES)

  • It is an intergovernmental organization established to improve the interface between science and policy on issues of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Established by: United Nations
  • It functions independently.
  • Formation: 2012.
  • Headquarters: Bonn, Germany.

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