Supporting the Global Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Land-based Solutions for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet

Land use change is the primary transmission pathway for emerging infectious diseases, and the rate of land conversion is accelerating. Moreover, the foundation for building back better in the face of climate change and the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic will be centered upon future land use decisions. The good news is that governments around the world have already initiated policies to strengthen all dimensions of an effective enabling environment that could lead to more integrated land use planning and help us all be more careful about what we do where. Land conversion for food production and urban expansion has increased the exposure of humans to viruses, increasing the risk of zoonotic disease emergence. Avoiding land degradation, improving the condition of affected ecosystems through sustainable land management and restoring or rehabilitating what has already been lost can prevent outbreaks, limit the negative impact on people by building resilience and helping ensure food security.