BOSTON – February 23, 2022 – In response to the escalating biodiversity crisis and the need to address critical issues including climate change, the prevention of future pandemics, and improving overall global health security, a diverse coalition of organizations is urging the Biden Administration to prioritize conservation through the creation of a comprehensive national biodiversity strategy.
The full-page letter, published on February 23rd in the New York Times and supported additionally through ProtectBiodiversity.org, is part of a multi-organizational effort to mobilize a whole-of-government, ‘nature first’ approach. Such an approach would account for the fundamental role biodiversity plays within the realm of public health and the global economy and encourage all tiers of government to ensure the protection and restoration of nature’s biodiversity.
Recognizing biodiversity – the full mix of species on Earth - as fundamental to the natural systems that support clean air, drinkable water, medicines, and food, the letter calls on the Administration to prioritize biodiversity protection as it prioritizes other fundamentals including public health and the economy. It notes that biodiversity serves as a natural barrier against many diseases, including those that can potentially turn into a full-blown pandemic, and can also lessen the impacts of climate change.
Worldwide, 193 countries have developed forms of a national biodiversity strategy. The U.S. however, not only lacks such a strategy, but also a comprehensive and coordinated approach to tackling the five main drivers of the biodiversity crisis: habitat loss, direct exploitation of species, climate change, pollution, and invasive species. Implementing a biodiversity strategy would play a fundamental role in preventing species extinction and the collapse of ecosystems while helping to address the escalating threats that reduced biodiversity poses to our health, security and overall well-being.
“We urge the Biden Administration to heed this united call to create a comprehensive biodiversity strategy,” said Azzedine Downes, President and CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). “This public, collective effort on behalf of such a diverse coalition of organizations representing human, animal, and environmental health and wellbeing demonstrates how fundamental the safeguarding of biodiversity is to ensuring the robust health and security of communities in the United States and around the world from here onward.”
“Biodiversity is the thread of life. If we are all spiders, this is the key to the web that holds us, connects us, keeps us safe and protects us. To lose this would be to lose ourselves. FOUR PAWS USA is proud to join this coalition and with this incredibly poignant and necessary ask of our leaders.”
-Danika Oriol-Morway, Executive Director of FOUR PAWS USA
Contributors to the outreach effort include the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Conservation X Labs, Defenders of Wildlife, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Health In Harmony, Jane Goodall Institute, Preventing Pandemics at the Source, the U.S. Wildlife & Health Alliance, Animal Defenders International, Endangered Species Coalition, FOUR PAWS USA, Humane Society Legislative Fund, Management Sciences for Health, Marked By COVID, One Health Lessons, OneNature Institute, The Humane Society of the United States, United Plant Savers, and WildEarth Guardians.
To read the letter to the Biden Administration and to take action now, visit ProtectBiodiversity.org.
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organization for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need, and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organization advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy, and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam, as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.fourpawsusa.org