The tripartite partnership for One Health, bringing together the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), formally became a quadripartite as it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
The One Health approach aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals, ecosystems and the wider environment. It mobilizes multiple sectors, disciplines and communities to work together to foster well-being and tackle threats to health and ecosystems.
It also addresses the collective need for clean water, energy and air, safe and nutritious food, action on climate change, and contributing to sustainable development.
India too has adopted the OHE approach.
The Memorandum of Understanding with the UNEP was signed at the annual executive meeting of the earlier three organisations this week.
“We are stronger with UNEP joining the Tripartite, FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said, adding: “UNEP is already active in relevant areas of Tripartite work,” a release from OHE said.
Work to tackle the challenges of human, animal and ecosystem health using a more integrated approach has seen significant progress in the past year, leaders of three international organisations cooperating across these sectors said, as they expanded to include the fourth body.
The work of the newly expanded alliance will be focused on a One Health Joint Plan of Action, which includes six main action tracks: enhancing countries’ capacity to strengthen health systems under a One Health approach; reducing the risks from emerging or resurfacing zoonotic epidemics and pandemics; controlling and eliminating endemic zoonotic, neglected tropical or vector-borne diseases; strengthening the assessment, management and communication of food safety risks; curbing the silent pandemic of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and better integrating the environment into the One Health approach, the release added.
OIE Director General, Monique Eloit acknowledged the key milestone of the MoU with UNEP, and said: “UNEP’s mandate, expertise and networks will provide an important contribution to advance One Health. This new chapter in our partnership will make us stronger and more prepared to serve our members and address global health challenges.”
UNEP’s Executive Director Inger Andersen said: “What is apparent to everyone involved in One Health is that no one sector can solve the many problems we face alone. To secure human, animal and environment health – to secure the very future of this planet – we need more collaboration and partnerships. We need to stand together and work together if we are to thrive together. UNEP, as the newest full member of the Alliance, is ready to do its part as an equal partner.”