Workshop topics

MAAP-PAS-ANSO Hybrid Workshop on Ecosystem Restoration: One-Health and Pandemics

By Humna Sajjad, Syed Ahsan Shahid

Ecological restoration: One Health and pandemics

Humanity is currently facing a number of interrelated existential crises. Ecological degradation, climate change and biodiversity loss have disastrous consequences for human health and well-being. Additionally, the emergence and transmission of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 are linked to the health of ecosystems. For example, zoonotic infections account for 75% of new infectious diseases and are caused by unsustainable resource use, industrial animal farming and other large-scale anthropogenic influences. As these pandemics show, environmental destruction can play a significant role in a global public health crisis.

It is commonly accepted that COVID-19 will not be the last pandemic. We need holistic approaches like One Health (a field of research that recognizes that human, animal and ecological health are interconnected. One Health seeks to increase communication and collaboration between humans, animals and health professionals environment to prevent the spread of disease.

To shed light on this important topic, “Ecosystem Restoration: One-Health and Pandemics; hybrid workshop” was organized by Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS) and Monbukagakhusho-MEXT Alumni Association of Pakistan (MAAP) and sponsored by Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS) and Alliance of International Scientific Organizations (ANSO) on June 5, 2022 The workshop was celebrated with the participation of more than 150 participants from different backgrounds.

The event was honored by the online presence of Professor Khalid Mahmood Khan, President of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS). PAS Secretary General Prof. Tasawar Hayat welcomed the distinguished guests and explained that ecological restoration is a clear and measurable strategy to address the global burden of disease and improve public health. Professor Khalid Mahmood Khan described in detail the aspect of ecological and unique health restoration and its implications in Pakistan. He stressed that all research institutes, young scientists and students must collaborate effectively to come up with sustainable solutions. Professor Zabta Khan Shinwari, (Professor Emeritus of QAU, President of MAAP and Member of PAS) presented the program of the seminar and explained that the restoration of natural ecosystems could open the way to reversing some of the effects of climate change and alleviating the global burden of disease.

The first guest speaker, Dr. Zabta Khan Shinwari, spoke on Biodiversity Loss: One-Health and Pandemics. He underlined the importance of the subject by raising questions what was the reason for this pandemic? Is this the last pandemic? He highlighted the role of biodiversity in one health and how it will help prevent the next pandemic. He quoted the WHO as saying: “No one is safe until everyone is safe.” He discussed the reasons for zoonotic diseases, including the decline in biodiversity, and people who eat wild animals and have a long tradition of using them in traditional medicines, this practice probably increases the risks of transmission of microbes from animals. to humans. Other reasons included are intensive wild farming, live animal market, pets and wildlife hunting. He highlighted biodiversity conservation saying that four of the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots are in the Hindukush Himalayas and if the global community tries to protect them, it will prove to be a major chance to avoid the next pandemic. The Ecosystem Restoration: One Health and Pandemics approach must engage and receive input from government legislators, the scientific community, and regulators to work together and help the planet mitigate at least some of the threats we have created.

The other lecture was given by the honorable guest Dr. Nancy Cornell, US NAS. She presented the importance of AI and biodiversity in maintaining the health of the ecosystem on which we and all other species depend, but we are eroding health and quality of life faster than ever. She highlighted that regular biodiversity monitoring improves biodiversity outcomes and that artificial intelligence holds great promise for improving the conservation and sustainable use of biological and ecosystem values ​​in a rapidly changing and resource-constrained world. .

Another lecture was presented by Dr. Dave Franz, US-NAS. He spoke about the insurance policy for the future in a complex and rapidly changing world, quoting “We haven’t had a real large-scale public health disaster, a pandemic, in almost a century, we are resilient people, but perhaps we take the disease too lightly. in this new, smaller and much changed world. He pointed out that the future can be scary, that we are driving in the dark and that “planning is more important than plans”. There is therefore an urgent need for several actions by different stakeholders, coupled with community support, to reduce the risk of catastrophic spread of the virus.

Other guest speakers were Dr. Tim Trevan (co-founder of Chrome Biorisk Management Consulting), Prof. Dr. Nariyoshi Shinomiya (Chairman, National Defense Medical College, Japan), Dr. Qadeer Ahsan (Fleming Fund, UK), Dr. Dr. Quaid Saeed (CEO, Islamabad Healthcare Regulatory Authority), Prof. Dr. Li Cui (Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences), Dr. Shahbaz Khan (UNESCO, Beijing), Prof. Lijun Shang and Dr. Malcolm (London Metropolitan University) presented on topics related to One-health and pandemics, approach to fight antimicrobial resistance, measures to mitigate zoonosis risks, role of IHRA in controlling pandemics and how open science for all benefits all humanity and leaves no one behind.

Dr Muhammad Ali from the PI-ANSO project presented an overview of bat-borne viruses. He pointed out that bats make up about 20% of all mammalian species. The evolution of their physical, physiological and behavioral characteristics has allowed them to develop all over the world. They are suitable reservoirs due to flight ability, longevity, migratory behaviors, hibernation, viral recombination, bat echolocation, and distinctive immunological traits. He presented an overview of the new era of bat virome research that began with high-throughput sequencing or next-generation sequencing to assess viral richness and diversity in bats.

The seminar was concluded by HE Ryuji Iwasky (Representative of the Japanese Embassy in Islamabad) with a take home message on the importance of environmental preservation and how it is essential for us, and how by embracing restoration ecosystems: a health and pandemic approach to prevent not only outbreaks of zoonotic diseases, but also other environmental problems, including food security and antimicrobial resistance. Moreover, it is a collective responsibility of all the different governmental and non-governmental organizations to meet the challenges through the engagement of society and the research community as well as the introduction of new policies to mitigate these threats for the future generation.

Organized by

Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS)


Monbukagakusho-MEXT Alumni Association of Pakistan (MAAP)

Supported by

Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS) and Alliance of International Scientific Organizations (ANSO)


Pakistan Academy of Sciences

3-Constitution Avenue, G-5/2

Islamabad, Pakistan

The report was prepared by our students:

  1. Humna Sajjad
  2. Shahid Syed Ahsan