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New FAO OIE-UNEP/WHO platform addresses human, animal and environment health challenges
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New FAO OIE-UNEP/WHO platform addresses human, animal and environment health challenges

The first One Health partner platform dialogue meeting was held in Budapest, Hungary on 22 November with representatives from Europe and central Asia. It aimed to address health threats to animals and plants in a more coordinated and effective manner.

Participants met to discuss the benefits and challenges of One Health, the role and contribution of partners, and how they could help the platform.

The dialogue was initiated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and WHO during World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (18–24 November).

Adhering to the theme of the week for 2021 “Spread awareness, stop resistance”, the platform provides an opportunity for United Nations agencies, international organizations, financial institutions, civil society, academia and the private sector to initiate a thematic dialogue on One Health issues in the countries of Europe and central Asia. It aims to take stock of the region’s emerging (and 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.

“One Health must be at the centre of AMR [antimicrobial resistance]Global and regional solutions are needed, as the problem is rooted in all health sectors, including human, animal, and plant health. Recent OIE data analysis on antimicrobial agents for animals showed a declining trend in recent years in many countries. 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.

“The interdependence of animal, human and environmental health is clear. COVID-19 was a wake up call. It is now more important than ever to implement the One Health concept. But WHO can’t do that alone. It is not something WHO, FAO OIE, UNEP or OIE can do alone. 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.

The platform allows partners to share tools that can be used to implement the One Health approach at national level in priority areas. This will maximize impact.

The COVID-19 pandemic – call for bold action

The current pandemic, resistance to antimicrobial treatment spreading among bacteria, and transboundary animals diseases are just a few of the many signs of a dysfunctional system. It is imperative that all sectors take bold and urgent actions to promote a healthy planet.

FAO, OIE and UNEP have strengthened their collaboration in Europe and Central Asia and taken further steps to improve governance in this region.

It is crucial to operationalize the One Health approach to better prevent, detect, and control diseases between animals and people. This includes AMR, food safety risks, and preventing environment-related human or animal health threats.

This approach is essential for achieving Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

The regional One Health Coordination Mechanism established the partner platform earlier this year to encourage the implementation of One Health at both the technical and executive levels.

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