The French Institute of Denmark brought together the directors of the National Natural History Museums of both countries for a podcast devoted to the relationship between pandemics and biodiversity.

The issue of biodiversity is at the heart of environmental protection. Today, the link between biodiversity and pandemics has become clear. At the One Planet Summit in January 2021, INRAE, CIRAD and IRD launched the PREZODE initiative (Preventing the risk of zoonotic emergences and pandemics). In this context, theFrench Institute of Denmark wanted to raise public awareness of the links between health and the environment.

The Institute thus organized a meeting between two outstanding personalities: Peter C. Kjærgaard and Bruno David, respectively directors of the Danish and French Natural History Museums. This meeting took the form of a discussion between the two speakers, moderated by the Danish science journalist Line Friis Frederiksen, and offered in the form of a podcast.

Bruno David is a paleontologist specializing in evolution and biodiversity. After serving as deputy director of the CNRS Institute of Ecology and Environment and chairman of the scientific council of the French Institute of Biodiversity, he became president of the National Museum of Natural History in 2015.

Peter C. Kjærgaard is Professor of Evolutionary History and Director of the Natural History Museum of Denmark since 2015. Prior to that, he taught at the University of Aarhus, the country's second largest city, where he also headed the Centre for Biocultural History. In addition, he is a member of the presidium of WWF Denmark and a member of the Danish government's scientific advisory committee on climate change.

The two scientists went back over the concept of zoonosis, before exploring the way in which damage to biodiversity can be the cause of pandemics. They thus illustrated the extent to which human health is intimately linked to the protection of living organisms. The aim is above all to offer an educational perspective on a major topical issue, without seeking to dramatize it unnecessarily.

Peter C. Kjærgaard and Bruno David were also able to propose measures to curb the emergence of zoonoses and shed light on the role that natural history museums can play. For example, they mentioned stopping the wildlife trade, reducing intercontinental trade and reducing mass tourism.

This program is part of a project carried out by the French Institute of Denmark and the French Institute of Sweden throughout the year 2020 and which is entitled: "Environmental issues and Franco-Nordic crossroads".