10 December 2023, Rome/Nairobi/Geneva/Paris – The Quadripartite Collaboration on One Health releases – The guide to Implementing the One Health Joint Plan of Action at National Level to support countries to strengthen their One Health actions.
Recognizing the multitude of risks that a changing climate is having and will continue to have on the health of all life on earth, the launch took place at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The launch coincided with the first-ever health day at COP28 as well as a climate and health high-level ministerial meeting.
The Guide is an operational addendum to the 2022 One Health Joint Plan of Action, signalling a strategic objective to country-focused implementation. The guide outlines three pathways – governance, sectoral integration, and evidence and knowledge – and five steps to achieve One Health implementation.
One of our main principles when developing the Guide is to make it applicable to all countries, regardless of their status of One Health implementation, and acknowledges transdisciplinary and diversity of stakeholdersDr Amina Benyahia, Head a.i. One Health Initiative, World Health Organization.
“The climate emergency has far-reaching consequences that threaten all life on earth. Direct factors like heat waves and floods as well as indirect factors like changes to disease spread due to changing weather patterns are just some of the risks to the health of animals, humans, and entire ecosystems,” said Doreen Robinson, the Head of Biodiversity and Land at UNEP, adding that an early investment in inclusive and systemic One Health approaches ensures we’re tackling such interconnected, complex issues for a healthier, more resilient future for both people and planet.”
The ongoing COP28 negotiations highlight the critical role of One Health approaches in responding to climate challenges. 134 countries backed a Climate and Health Declaration to place health at the heart of climate action and accelerate the development of climate-resilient, sustainable and equitable health systems. The Guide will also support countries in implementing the future accord on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response for which One Health is a guiding principle.
Despite the growing awareness of the One Health approach in recent years, the world remains vulnerable to many global threats unless this approach is translated into policies and actions, and adequately and sustainably financed.Thanawat Tiensin,
Director, FAO Animal Production and Health Division.
“The international community needs strengthened coordination to implement a One Health approach, both within countries and among countries. The WHO plays a pivotal role in this regard.” said Alexandre Ghisleni, Brazil Global Health Ambassador, in his opening remarks at the event.
Comprehensive implementation of the One Health approach will only be made possible when coordinated actions correspond to political commitments for One Health. International frameworks can help design One Health programs, policies, legislation and research, but nations and local communities are essential and vital in putting One Health approaches into practice.Chadia Wannous, One Health Global Coordinator, WOAH
However, challenges and barriers in One Health implementation also remain, with a need to upscale and expand on One Health. This includes raising political and financial support, strengthening capacity building, improving information and data exchange and inviting in technology innovation.
The benefits of implementing a One Health approach are clear, not only in regard to improving the health of humans, animals and the environment but also in terms of the huge economic benefits – the return on Investment of the One Health approach is up to 90% (World Bank, 2022). “We will continue exploring sustainable funding opportunities for strengthening the One Health approach and we will continue being a strong supporter of the Quadripartite’s leadership role in its implementation… We will continue to work towards the goal of reducing health risks in our partner countries, strengthen human and veterinary health systems, improve early warning systems, protect biodiversity and thus contribute to epidemic and pandemic prevention.” said Dr. Ariane Hildebrandt, Director-General, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP) also plays a key role in advising the Quadripartite on One Health implementation, including having been closely involved in the development of the One Health definition (2021) and Theory of Change (2022) linking to the OH JPA and Implementation Guide.
Implementing the One Health approach is essential also to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by offering synergy across sectors and mechanisms for long term health for all (humans and animals and the environment) and social and economic benefits.
The Quadripartite commits to catalyze, complement, and add value to existing global and regional One Health initiatives, aimed at strengthening capacity to address complex multidimensional health risks with more resilient health systems at all levels.