There is a need for all countries to conserve the environment amid the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic which has added to the destruction of biodiversity worldwide, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.Ramaphosa said this when he addressed a virtual summit on biodiversity taking place on the sidelines of the 75th UN General Assembly in New York City on Wednesday.
“The coronavirus pandemic has had badly affected the ability of national economies to respond to challenges like environmental degradation and climate change,” Ramaphosa said.
“But even as we prioritise economic revival and reconstruction, we must maintain our collective commitment to environmental conservation.”
According to the South African leader, environmental conservation was more important considering that there were strong links between environmental destruction and the emergence of new deadly diseases in humans.
“Biodiversity loss, deforestation, the loss of farmland, animal habitat loss and the consumption of wild species are creating conditions for infectious diseases that we will soon be unable to control.
“South Africa commits to working with the United Nations Environment Programme in the development of tools to track the future emergence of any Zoonotic diseases.”
As the third most mega-biodiverse country in the world, with unique species and ecosystems found nowhere else on earth, the president said his country was committed to conserving the environment in keeping with its role as a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity.