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How to Prevent the Next Pandemic: Nature Based Solutions and Policy Opportunities

Monday, June 26, 2023 at 11:00am to 12:20pm

Virtual Event


Reducing the risk of future pandemics requires investment in prevention, preparedness, and response. However, primary pandemic prevention (preventing zoonotic spillover) has been largely absent in global conversations, policy guidance, and practice in part because there is a lack of a clear definition of prevention and lack of clear guidance on how to do this. Ecological countermeasures—actions that protect and restore wildlife habitat or mitigate wildlife-human interactions—provide many benefits including preventing pandemics at the source. Such action is critical, and we believe, our best path forward, because as the effects of anthropogenic change increase, the risk of pandemics will, too.

Moderated by award-winning science writer, David Quammen, opening statement by Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove '99 (WHO), and hosted by Dr. Raina Plowright (Cornell), this panel-style webinar with ten global and cross-disciplinary experts, offers a summary of the key strategies for pandemic prevention including the fundamental drivers of pandemics, the strategies we can take to prevent them, and the current policy opportunities for primary pandemic prevention.

What You'll Learn:

  • How pandemics start and how human activity and environmental change increase the risk of virus spillover from animals to humans
  • How we can stop spillover events by addressing the fundamental drivers of spillover through ecological countermeasures
  • How key strategic ecological countermeasures (outside of the current general guidance to “prevent deforestation”) can be deployed along with medical countermeasures (e.g., vaccines) as a pandemic prevention strategy
  • How pandemics solutions intersect climate change and biodiversity loss solutions
  • Effective and clear recommendations for policy makers to integrate pandemic prevention alongside global preparedness efforts



  • Openning remarks:  Maria Van Kerkhove ’99, COVID-19 Technical Lead & Emerging Diseases and Zoonoses Lead, WHO
  • Moderator: David Quammen, Science Writer
  • Host & Panelist Raina Plowright, Professor of Disease Ecology & Cornell Atkinson Scholar, Cornell University
  • Panelist: DeeAnn Reeder, Professor, Bucknell University
  • Panelist: Teague O’Mara, Director od Conservation Evidence, Bat Conservation International
  • Panelist: Abi Vanak, Director, Centre for Policy Design
  • Panelist: Iroro Tanshi, Co-Founder, Small Mammal Conservation Organization, Nigeria
  • Panelist: Aliyu Nuhu Ahmed, Doctoral Candidate, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Panelist: Neil Vora, Pandemic Prevention Fellow, Conservation International
  • Panelist: Benjamin Roche, Research Director, French Research Institute for Sustainable Development

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Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, CVM – Public & Ecosystem Health


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