AGA IN ACTION
FAO and partners talk about One Health with the People's Republic of China
“One Health is an infectious concept” said Dr Juan Lubroth, the Chief of the Animal Health Service and Chief Veterinary Officer of FAO. And it appears that this is indeed the case, since talk about One Health is moving from Europe to Africa, Asia, and Latin America. For example, on 29-30 June 2011 a One Health event took place at the UN Compound in Beijing. This gathering was convened by the Sub-working group on diseases at the animal-human interface of the United Nations (UN) Theme Group on Health, which is coordinated by FAO’s Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases in China (ECTAD-China).
The 1.5-day One Health event was attended by participants from the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Ministry of Health (MoH), State Forestry Administration (SFA), World Health Organization (WHO), EU Delegation, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Environment Programme-Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (UNEP-CMS), FAO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAO-RAP), FAO Headquarters, ECTAD-China, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China Animal Disease Control Centre (CADC), Max Planck Institute (MPI), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), a number of Embassies and Universities, and Xinhua News Agency, among many others.
The meeting presentations and discussions revolved around these three themes:
- Lessons learned from H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1 HPAI) and pandemic influenza H1N1/2009;
- Integrated approaches to agricultural health: linking natural resource management, wildlife, livestock production and food security;
- Disease emergence at the livestock-wildlife interface.
Additionally, a roadmap for institutionalization of the One Health approach and its principles in the People’s Republic of China was discussed among event participants and is currently under development. The One Health event not only attracted attention of the international and national scientific communities, but also generated a lot of interest among policy makers who attended. FAO supports the One Health approach because it is a collaborative, international, cross-sectoral, multidisciplinary mechanism to address threats and reduce risks of detrimental infectious diseases at the human-animal-ecosystems interface. It strategically builds on the lessons learned from, and achievements of, the responses to H5N1 HPAI and H1N1 epizootics. This approach is acknowledged a feasible and viable model to address the multidimensional challenges that are rapidly evolving in a changing world.