William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review


The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the operations of global biodiversity conventions, requiring virtual meetings in place of in-person events. Yet the pandemic also highlighted the importance of biodiversity conservation as a mechanism to reduce the risk of zoonotic diseases, as the October 2020 report issued by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (“IPBES”) emphasized. Now that in-person, international meetings have resumed, this Article examines the extent to which four biodiversity conventions—the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds, the Ramsar Convention, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, and the Convention on Biological Diversity—considered the nexus between biodiversity conservation and human health in the context of zoonotic disease. While the biodiversity conventions have taken several steps, individually, to emphasize the importance of biodiversity conservation to human health, this cross-cutting issue could be used for greater coordination among the conventions.