How can Indigenous Peoples help prevent future pandemics: Land Rights, Biodiversity and Global Health

Organisers: The Tenure Facility, Land Portal Foundation, Ford Foundation and the Thomson Reuters Foundation

When: May 20, 2021 at 9:00AM-10:30AM EST

Where: online, please register here.

Join the Ford Foundation, the Land Portal Foundation, the Tenure Facility and the Thomson Reuters Foundation for a webinar on May 20th. The link between “environmental imbalances” and “emerging infectious diseases” is well established in literature; studies have shown that activities associated with deforestation, and subsequent biodiversity loss, contribute to the spread of disease vectors and associated diseases. Maintaining intact forest cover and preventing the associated consequences of deforestation, would reduce virus emergence events.  There are many other good reasons to do it: forests store carbon, protect wildlife and sustain peoples’ livelihoods. 

The argument resides that protecting Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities land rights is key in preventing future zoonotic disease spillover as their lands have been found to have less intensive deforestation, higher biodiversity and less environmental degradation in comparison to forests under other management strategies. Studies  have found that the health of tropical forests interconnects to global health, due to biodiversity protection and mitigating the consequences of global warming. The One Health initiative suggests “collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals and our environment.” Put simply, if we protect the health of the Earth, animals and environment around us, we protect our own health.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the imbalance in ecosystems being driven by human activities, and the urgent need for us to take action for the future of all species, including mankind. This webinar aims to highlight the role of Indigenous People and Local Communities land rights in this crisis. Putting them at the front lines of decision making will be vital in collaborations towards global health. To do this, this webinar will highlight the support these communities need to continue their work protecting their territories.

This event is the second of a series of webinars organised under the “Land Dialogues” series, a Tenure Facility, Land Portal, Ford Foundation and Thomson Reuters Foundation initiative promoting the importance of recognizing legal ownership of Indigenous Peoples and local communities land rights as a prerequisite for achieving national and international goals for forest governance, food security, climate mitigation, economic development, and human rights. 


Jonathan Watts

Global Environment Editor
The Guardian


Joji Carino

Forest Peoples Programme

Carlos Zambrana Torrelio

EcoHealth Alliance

Eric Fevre

Institute of Infection Veterinary and Ecological Sciences
University of Liverpool

Francisco Piyako

Leader of the Indigenous Ashaninka People

David Nabarro

World Health Organization

Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka

Founder and CEO of Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH)

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