The One Health High Level Expert Panel, endorsed by the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, The World Organization for Animal Health and United Nations Environment Programme have developed a new definition of One Health to promote a clear understanding, translate across sectors and areas of expertise and strengthen linkages of the environmental dimensions of One Health. This more comprehensive and inclusive understanding of One Health, provides for the first time, a common definition across all four institutions.
The definition describes One Health as “an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals, and ecosystems. It recognizes that health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment (including ecosystems) are closely linked and inter-dependent. The approach aims to mobilize multiple sectors, disciplines, and communities at varying levels of society to work together to foster well-being and tackle threats to health and ecosystems, while addressing the collective need for clean water, energy and air, safe and nutritious food, taking action on climate change, and contributing to sustainable development.” This more holistic understanding of One Health provides new opportunities for meaningfully embedding the full range of environmental and social determinants of health, to optimise health outcomes for people, plants, animals and ecosystems alike. It also makes it possible to reduce the tendency to fragment and compartmentalize One Health approaches, and to optimize outcomes for both infectious and noncommunicable disease risks (OHHLEP et al., JPA, 2022).
Drawing from some of the core challenges addressed in part 1 (Parallel Session 2.2), we may wish to move toward a focus on creating opportunities to support health, sustainability, and resilience through integrated approaches to health. One Health provides such opportunities.
Finding synergies to maximize co-benefits can be meaningfully achieved only through concerted multi-sector, multi-stakeholder collaboration. Newly expanded initiatives and collaborations and tools to support the implementation of One Health and other integrated approaches to health, such as Ecohealth and planetary health, and other emerging or expanded partnerships, provide essential opportunities to address both global environmental challenges and infectious and noncommunicable disease risks.
The "Inter-sectoral, Multi-sectoral Approaches" session will be divided into two parts for an in depth look at the challenges (Parallel Session 2.2) associated with siloed actions to tackle the root causes of infectious and noncommunicable disease risk and opportunities (Parallel Session 2.5) and tools for cross-sectoral and multisectoral collaboration to overcome them. It will enable participants both to engage in a constructive dialogue spanning the full breadth of the biodiversity and climate challenges that we face and to discuss opportunities for engagement to catalyze cross-sectoral action through integrated approaches such as One Health, and other integrated approaches to health.
Principal Scientist, Health and Policy
Associate Professor & York Research Chair in Indigenous Health Policy & One Health, Faculty of Health