The recent pandemic has reminded us of the deep connections between health and the environment. Adopting a One Health approach is critical not only to prevent outbreaks in zoonotic diseases, but also other urgent environmental issues including food safety and antimicrobial resistance. This page aims at listing the latest information, research, data and/or press releases issued by our partners in Geneva and other institutions around the world.
One Health Approach
One Health is an approach to designing and implementing programs, policies, legislation, and research in which multiple sectors work together to achieve better public health outcomes (WHO, 2017). It is rooted in the recognition that human health and animal health are interdependent and bound to the health of the ecosystems in which they exist (OIE, n.d.). The complex nature of the interactions between people, animals and plants renders this collaborative, multisectoral and transdisciplinary approach critical to addressing future health risks and challenges.
More information on the One Health approach is available from the main international organizations working on the topic: World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
- WHO: One Health | One Health in the WHO European Region
- FAO: One Health | Strategic Action Plan (2011)
- OIE: One Health at a Glance | Controlling Global Health Risks More Effectively
Other institutions also provide useful resources to understand the One Health approach and its value for improving health.
- What is One Health | One Health Commission
- One Health | Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute
- One Health | Biovision
- Safeguarding Animal, Human and Ecosystem Health: One Health at the World Bank | The World Bank | 9 July 2020
- ‘One Health’- A Multi-dimensional Approach to Health | Public Health Notes | 23 November 2019
- Integrated approaches to health – A handbook for the evaluation of One Health | Simon Rüegg et al. | 2018
Collaboration is a central component of the One Health approach as it transcends thematic boundaries and calls for comprehensive responses on health issues. International institutions, in International Geneva and beyond, have established collaborative programs to achieve the common goal of protecting health. This section provides information on these efforts.
- Brief Recommends Policy Shifts to Improve Health in the Anthropocene | IISD | 22 March 2021
- UNEP joins three International Organizations in Expert Panel to improve One Health | UNEP | 12 November 2020
- Biodiversity and Health: the WHO-CBD Joint Work Programme | WHO | 1 January 2020
- The FAO-OIE-WHO Collaboration – Tripartite Concept Note | WHO | April 2010
- Contributing to One World, One Health – A Strategic Framework for Reducing Risks of Infectious Diseases at the Animal–Human–Ecosystems Interface | WHO, FAO, OIE, UN System Influenza Coordination, UNICEF, World Bank | 14 October 2008
Zoonoses and emerging diseases
Zoonoses – diseases or infections that are naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans (WHO, 2020) – are one of the health risks where the deep interconnections of human, animal and environmental health are most visible. Around 60% of existing human infectious diseases are zoonotic and 75% of emerging infectious diseases (including Ebola, HIV, influenza, COVID-19) have an animal origin (OIE, n.d.). Controlling zoonotic pathogens at their animal source is the most effective and economic way of protecting people (OIE, n.d.).
- Impacts of biodiversity and biodiversity loss on zoonotic diseases | Felicia Keesing & Richard S. Ostfeld | PNAS | 27 April 2021
- Preventing pandemics with global nature protection | The #Connect2Earth Global Health Talks | WWF | 7 April 2021
- ‘One health’ approach critical to tackle health inequality and emerging diseases | UNEP | 6 April 2021
- Zoonoses and Climate Change: Is One Health Enough? | La Progressive | 28 February 2021
- Wildlife regulation, ‘one health’ keys to avert more pandemics | Cornell Chronicles | 24 February 2021
- Zoonoses: Managing Public Health Risks at the Human-Animal-Environment Interface | WHO
- Update on COVID-19 and the Environment | Geneva Environment Network
- Emerging Disease, Wildlife Trade and Consumption: The Need for Robust Global Governance | WWF | 23 February 2021
- UN Biodiversity Convention discusses Biodiversity, One Health and Response to COVID-19 | CBD | 15 December 2020
- It is Time for a Global Wildlife Health Authority | William Karesh | IUCN | 17 September 2020
- Unite Human, Animal and Environmental Health to Prevent the Next Pandemic | UNEP | 6 July 2020
- One Health Legislation: Contributing to Pandemic Prevention through Law | FAO | July 2020
- Does COVID-19 offer Opportunities for Progressing One Health? | ILRI | 9 June 2020
- GENeva Environment Dialogues – Emerging Infectious Diseases and Ecosystems Health | Geneva Environment Network | 3 June 2020
- Biodiversity and Infectious Diseases: Questions and Answers | CBD | 19 May 2020
- FAO, OIE, and WHO launch a Guide for Countries on taking a One Health Approach to addressing Zoonotic Diseases | WHO | 11 March 2019
- Taking a Multisectoral, One Health Approach: a Tripartite Guide to addressing Zoonotic Diseases in Countries | WHO, FAO & OIE | 2019
Food is another crucial theme to which the One Health approach can bring meaningful contributions. While food quality is a crucial component of human health, food production is highly reliable on animal and plant health. Moreover, many important zoonoses relate in some way to animals in the food production chain. Food is indeed an important vehicle for zoonotic pathogens, creating a deep bond between animal health on human health. The One Health approach is thus important for ensuring food safety. This section provides relevant resources in that area.
- About Food Safety | OIE
- One Health for Food Safety, Food Security, and Sustainable Food Production | Sara N. Garcia, Bennie I. Osburn and Michele T. Jay-Russell | Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems | 28 January 2020
- Food Safety Challenges and One Health within Europe | Sofia Boqvist, Karin Söderqvist & Ivar Vågsholm | Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica | December 2018
- Food Safety: At the Center of a One Health Approach for Combating Zoonoses | Peter Wielinga & Jørgen Schlundt | Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology | July 2012
- One Health and Food safety | Lonnie J. King | US National Academies Press | 2012
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change in ways that render the medications used to cure the infections they cause ineffective (WHO, 2017). AMR is a global health concern as AMR infections cause 700’000 deaths each year and may become the leading cause of deaths globally by 2050 (UK O’Neill’s Commission, 2016). Although AMR occurs naturally, it is facilitated by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in human health, food-animal production and agriculture, along with poor management of waste from households, farms, factories and healthcare settings (UNEP, n.d.). AMR depends greatly on the interaction between humans, animals and the environment, hence, adopting a One Health approach is critical for developing appropriate responses. This section presents the latest progress on addressing AMR through a One Health approach.
- Antimicrobial Resistance: A Global Threat | UNEP
- Here’s how we could stop antimicrobial resistance becoming the next pandemic | Priya Joi | GAVI, The Vacine Alliance | 9 February 2021
- Inaugural meeting of One Health Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance | WHO | 26 January 2021
- World leaders join forces to fight the accelerating crisis of Antimicrobial Resistance | FAO, OIE & WHO | 20 November 2020
- Antimicrobial Resistance – Factsheet | WHO | 13 October 2020
- Antimicrobial Resistance in One Health | Marie-jo Medina, Helena Legido-Quigley & Li Yang Hsu | Global Health Security | 2 January 2020
- How Farmers play a Vital Role in combatting the Growing Effects of Antimicrobial Resistance | FAO | 18 November 2019
- Critical Importance of a One Health Approach to Antimicrobial Resistance | Allison White & James M. Hughes | EcoHealth | 28 June 2019
- Antimicrobial Resistance from Environmental Pollution among Biggest Emerging Health Threats, says UN Environment | UNEP | 5 December 2017
- Antimicrobial Resistance: Q&A | WHO | 27 July 2017
- The OIE Strategy on Antimicrobial Resistance and the Prudent Use of Antimicrobials | OIE | November 2016
- Tackling Drug-Resistant Infections Globally: Final Report and Recommendations | The Antimicrobial Resistance Review | May 2016
- The FAO Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance | FAO | 2016
- Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance | WHO | 2015
Biodiversity and Conservation
All human health ultimately depends on ecosystem services that are made possible by biodiversity and the products derived from them. Indeed, functioning ecosystems provide us with food and fresh water, aids in regulating climate, floods and disease, and provides recreational benefits (CBD, 2020). Investigating the complex interlinkages between biodiversity, ecosystem services and human health is thus essential to comprehensively address risks to human health. This section provides information on the application of the One Health approach in the field of biodiversity and conservation.
- Guidance on Integrating Biodiversity Considerations into One Health Approaches | CBD
- One World, One Health: Recommendations to harness the power of landscapes | Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) & Youth in Landscapes Initiative (YIL) | January 2021
- Health and Biodiversity | CBD | 14 August 2020
- Statement by the Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity on the occasion of World Health Day | Elizabeth Maruma Mrema | 7 April 2020
Global warming poses a growing threat to human health, as it impacts many vital elements of our lives such as air quality, access to drinking water, food security and the safety of our homes. Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress (WHO, 2018). Climate mitigation and adaptation is thus essential to decreasing health risks for both our generation and future generations. More information on health and climate change is provided in this section.
- Tracking progress on health and climate change | The Lancet Countdown
- Zoonoses and Climate Change: Is One Health Enough? | La Progressive | 28 February 2021
- WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at Virtual Event on Climate Change and its Link to Health, Labour and Human Rights | WHO | 10 February 2021
- Scientists call for Integrated One Health Approach to Climate, Disease Mitigation | Rizki Fachriansyah | The Jakarta Post | 10 November 2020
- Promoting and protecting health through the UNFCCC | WHO | 1 January 2020
- Climate Change and One Health | Jakob Zinsstag Lisa Crump, et al. | FEMS Microbiology Letters | June 2018
- The Paris Agreement is a Health Agreement – WHO | UN Climate Change | 3 May 2018
- Climate change and health | WHO | 1 February 2018
- The impact of climate change on the enjoyment of the right to health | OHCHR
- Global Health at the Human-Animal-Ecosystem Interface | University of Geneva, Institute Pasteur, University of Montreal and Centre Virchow-Villermé/University Paris Descartes
- One Health: Connecting Humans, Animals and the Environment | Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute & University of Basel
- Bats, Ducks, and Pandemics: An Introduction to One Health Policy | Princeton University
- Online training on navigating the Tripartite Zoonoses Guide (TZG) | FAO, OIE & WHO
- Brochures, Infographics and Educational Material | One Health Commission