Geneva, 28 March 2023 (TDI): United Nations (UN) Agency Chiefs jointly issued a call on Monday for global action to balance and optimize the health of people, animals, and the environment, as part of a new “One Health” approach.

The first Quadripartite Executive Annual Meeting was held at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

The heads of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the UN-backed World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) came together in the face of multiple global emergencies like COVID-19.

The Annual Meeting also highlighted threats such as Ebola to Covid-19. These continued threats of disease spillover between animals and humans, loss of biodiversity, and climate change.

In a statement, WHO Chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, FAO Chief Qu Dongyu, UNEP Executive Director, Inger Andersen, and WOAH’s Head, Monique Eloit, stressed the need to prioritize.

“One Health” approaches to invest in building workforces with cross-sectoral skills, and preventing health threats at the source, with close attention paid to zoonotic diseases.

Call to action

1. Prioritize One Health in terms of the international political agenda, making it a guiding principle in global mechanisms; including the new global pandemic accord.

2. Strengthen national One Health policies, strategies, and plans, costed and prioritized in line with the Quadripartite One Health Joint Plan of Action (OH JPA).

3. Accelerate the implementation of One Health plans, including supporting national One Health development agendas.

4. Build intersectoral One Health workforces that have the skills, capacities, and capabilities to prevent, detect, control, and respond to health threats in a timely and effective way.

5. Strengthen and sustain the prevention of pandemics and health threats at source, targeting activities and places that increase the risk of zoonotic spillover between animals to humans.

6. Encourage and strengthen One Health’s scientific knowledge and evidence creation and exchange, research and development, technology transfer, and sharing of new tools and data.

7. Increase investment and financing of One Health strategies and plans ensuring scaled-up implementation at all levels, including funding for prevention of health threats at source.

“To build one healthier planet we need urgent action to galvanize vital political commitments, greater investment, and multisectoral collaboration at every level”, the Agency Chiefs said.