Role of Biodiversity and Healthy Ecosystems in Supporting Child Health 


As a contribution to the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) 2010 - and in the run-up to the September 2010 United Nations General Assembly’s High Level Meetings on the IYB, and to review progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as a contribution to the 10th Conference of the Parties to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan in October 2010, an event was held highlighting the role of biodiversity and healthy ecosystems in underpinning progress on meeting MDG 4 on reducing child mortality, and related internationally agreed development goals supporting child health and well-being.

The fundamental yet often overlooked dependence of child health and well-being upon healthy ecosystems, which provide, among other services, clean water and air, food, and medicine motivated the organization of this event. Biodiversity makes possible these ecosystem functions which are essential to sustain our lives and support our health.

The event on ‘The Role of Biodiversity and Healthy Ecosystems in Supporting Child Health’, which the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) organized in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Equator Initiative, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and Mount Sinai’s Global Health Center, was held at the AMNH on 30 April 2010.  It featured eminent speakers who highlighted the implications of continued biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation for child health and well-being.  

This web-page provides the programme of the event, with links to the presentations made by the speakers, and to relevant work of their organizations.

A pod-cast of the event is available at: .

A brochure distilling the key messages that emerged from the event, in terms of the overall concepts, and through striking examples and inspiring ideas for using this knowledge to affect actions to achieve progress on both fronts is available here: 

Felicity Arengo, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History

H.E. Mr. Norihiro Okuda
Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
Japan – Host 10th meeting Conference of the Parties - Convention on Biological Diversity


Opening Remarks

Ahmed Djoghlaf 
Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity



Film screening
‘Biodiversity is Life – Biodiversity is Our Life’
Official Film of 2010 International Year of Biodiversity
Interactive Panel Discussion
Moderator:  Charles McNeill
Senior Policy Advisor, United Nations Development Programme

Aaron Bernstein
MD MPH: Faculty Member, Center for Health and the Global Environment and Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Presentation: Sustaining Life - Why Biodiversity is Important for Child Health....

Sigrid Hahn
MD, MPH, Associate Director, Mount Sinai Global Health Center and Assistant Professor, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Presentation: A Story of Linking Conservation and Health in Mozambique

Erika Vohman
Director, Maya Nut Institute

Presentation: Healthy Kids, Healthy Forests - Reaping the Benefits of the Maya Nut in here for presentation...

Montira Pongsiri
PhD, MPH: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of the Science Advisor

Presentation: Ecosystems, Biodiversity and Children’s Health at the US EPA


Juanita Castaño
Director, New York Office, United Nations Environment Programme

Closing Remarks


Related links:

AMNH Preview of the event: Interview with Dr. Aaron Bernstein

Mount Sinai Press Release: Effect of Deforestation on Mozambique Discussed at United Nations Event

US/EPA Blog of the event: EPA Helps Celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity

Maya Nut Institute overview: Healthy Kids, Healthy Forests Program

UNEP IYB Fact-Sheet: What is Biodiversity?

CBD Fact-sheet: Human Health and Biodiversity