WAAW 2021

New FAO, OIE, UNEP and WHO platform to tackle human, animal, and environmental health challenges

The regional partner platform’s first dialogue helps operationalize the One Health approach

A new One Health partner platform is set to bring together UN agencies, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector, for a collaborative and coordinated response to health threats originating in the animal, human, plant, and environment interface.

Participants gathered to discuss benefits and challenges associated with applying the One Health approach and the role of partners and their expected contribution to enhance coordination of support to address health threats in the animal-human-environment interface. The dialogue was initiated by FAO, OIE, UNEP, and WHO during the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (18–24 November). The platform aims to take stock of the region’s emerging or re-emerging health threats at the human-animal-environment interface, provide evidence, share lessons learned, and facilitate networking around successes, better identify challenges, and foster innovation in working with the One Health approach.

“The challenges are multiple in this region and many of them, notably the COVID-19 pandemic, relate to One Health – the interconnected nature of human-animal-environmental health – highlighting the need for better coordination across sectors to protect health and prevent disruption to food systems,” said Vladimir Rakhmanin, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia.

“The interdependence of animal, human and environmental health – is clear. COVID-19 was a wake-up call. The need for operationalizing the One Health concept has never been greater. But WHO can’t do that alone. Neither is it something WHO, FAO, OIE, and UNEP can do single-handedly. To address health threats originating in the animal, human and environment interface, input and support from a wide range of stakeholders and resource partners, is required,” underlined Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

“One Health must be at the centre of AMR global and regional solutions since the drivers of the issue lie in all health sectors: human health, animal health, plant health, environmental health, and food security. A recent analysis of the OIE global data on antimicrobial agents intended for use in animals confirmed a downward trend in the use of antimicrobial agents in animals in most countries in recent years. However, we still need to invest in innovation and science to provide alternative solutions, such as biosecurity and vaccines, to strengthen accountability and national, regional, and global governance,” pointed out Dr Budimir Plavsic, the OIE Regional Representative for Europe.

Through the platform, partners can also share tools that could facilitate the practical implementation of the One Health approach in priority areas at the national level to maximize impact.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic – call for bold action

The current pandemic, the spread of bacteria that are resistant to antimicrobial treatment, and transboundary animal diseases are only a few striking symptoms of a malfunctioning system. To promote a healthy and sustainable planet, urgent and bold actions are needed across sectors.

Through strengthened collaboration in Europe and Central Asia, FAO, OIE, UNEP, and WHO have jointly taken new steps for better governance in this area.

Operationalizing the One Health approach is essential to better prevent, detect, and control diseases that spread between animals and humans, tackle antimicrobial resistance, reduce food safety risks, prevent environment-related human and animal health threats, as well as to combat other challenges.

Implementing this approach is critical for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The partner platform is a practical element of the regional One Health Coordination Mechanism, established earlier this year as a commitment to foster the implementation of the One Health approach at both the executive and technical levels.

 

                                                                                                                                                        22 November 2021, Budapest, Hungary 

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