Thursday 12/3/20
BIODIVERSITY CRISIS

UN chief: humans must stop 'waging war on nature' to avoid diseases

"Degradation of nature is not purely an environmental issue - it spans economics, health, social justice and human rights," Antonio Guterres says.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, delivers a speech during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Photo: Luiz Rampelotto/dpa.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, delivers a speech during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Photo: Luiz Rampelotto/dpa.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says humanity must stop "waging war on nature," thereby clearing the path for the emergence of diseases such as the coronavirus.

"One consequence of our imbalance with nature is the emergence of deadly diseases such as HIV-AIDS, Ebola, and now Covid-19, against which we have little or no defence," he says.

Opening the UN's first-ever summit on the biodiversity crisis, Guterres says leaders must "change course and transform our relationship with the natural world."

"Degradation of nature is not purely an environmental issue - it spans economics, health, social justice and human rights," the UN chief says.

"Neglecting our precious resources can exacerbate geopolitical tensions and conflicts. Yet, too often environmental health is overlooked or downplayed by other government sectors."

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