AnimalhealthEurope hosts first-ever hybrid event

One Health was the topic in focus
calendar icon 21 June 2022
clock icon 3 minute read

AnimalhealthEurope hosted its first-ever hybrid event to address the topic of One Health, asking the question where we are now in terms of application. According to a press release from the organisation, the event kicked off with a dialogue between Monique Eloit, Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as OIE) and Claire Bury, Deputy Director General of the European Commission’s DG SANTE.

“Cross-sectoral partnerships need to become an established part of global health governance dynamics, and thus become a driving force of change at regional and country levels," said Eliot. "The creation of joint health policies involving the human, animal and environmental sectors has become an absolute necessity, in particular, when strengthening mechanisms to prevent a next pandemic and to prepare the response. In this regard, the veterinary workforce must be considered as a critical component of a nation’s health workforce, as they are front line professionals in the prevention of zoonotic diseases and in ensuring food security.”

“Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is probably in historic terms the first area where the EU started to develop a solid One Health policy approach and remains a firm priority," said Bury, speaking about the European Commission’s actions. "However, One Health principles are deployed in many different policy areas of the Commission and actually stretch beyond the more recognised fields of AMR and zoonoses control, like animal welfare, biodiversity, soil health, sustainable use of pesticides, climate and health, prevention, detection, and rapid response to future health emergencies. The EU as member of G7 and G20, has endorsed the political commitments to further implement the One Health approach.”

Panellists from human health, animal health and environmental sectors debated how to translate scientific consensus on One Health into policy, whilst ensuring balance for all three elements of the triad.

Nino Berdzuli from WHO Europe referenced the efforts of the WHO, FAO, WOAH, and UNEP Quadripartite Regional One Health Coordination Mechanism which serves to identify priorities and coordinate technical support to Member States and implementation of collaborative activities. The panellists including Ludovico Sepe from the One Health EJP, Steve Hallahan from EPRUMA, environmental adviser Aida Bakri (ADS Insight), and sustainability journalist Andrea Bertaglio, agreed there is a need for enhanced exchanges of information and coordination, particularly for improving integrated surveillance of disease outbreaks across animal, human, and environmental contexts.

Touching on his many years working in animal health, Dieter Schillinger, Deputy Director General of the International Livestock Research Institute shared a personal story of his One Health experiences from Europe to Africa. He highlighted that although there is now a growing commitment to One Health globally, operationalisation has been somewhat challenging and requires committed investments.

The event closed with highlights on the role healthy animals play for One Health, in terms of safe, sustainably produced food, as well as preventing disease outbreaks and transmission both to other animals or people. The animal health sector both in Europe and worldwide recognises the importance of the work required to develop action plans and mechanisms to support One Health efforts, and remains ready to contribute positively and actively.

Melanie Epp

Melanie Epp is a freelance agricultural journalist from Ontario, Canada.

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