One Health

The health of animals, people, plants and the environment is interconnected. One Health is an integrated approach that recognizes this fundamental relationship and ensures that specialists in multiple sectors work together to tackle health threats to animals, humans, plants and the environment.

The global impact and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a human health crisis caused by a virus passed from animals, highlights the need for coordinated action across sectors to protect health and prevent disruption to food systems.

FAO promotes One Health in work on food security, sustainable agriculture, food safety, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), nutrition, animal and plant health, fisheries, and livelihoods. Ensuring a One Health approach is essential for progress to anticipate, prevent, detect and control diseases that spread between animals and humans, tackle AMR, ensure food safety, prevent environment-related human and animal health threats, as well as combatting many other challenges.

The application of a One Health approach is critical for achieving the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

FAO works with partners to promote global health, to eliminate hunger, to promote food safety and healthy diets, to prevent and control zoonoses and AMR, to protect the livelihoods of farmers from the impacts of plant and animal diseases, and to increase the sustainability of agricultural practices. We are one world working together for One Heath.

FAO’s role

FAO supports Members to build and implement effective collaborative One Health strategies, simultaneously addressing the health of people, animals, plants and the environment. The One Health approach is used to design and implement programmes, policies and legislation.

A hub of technical knowledge, FAO embraces One Health in protecting human, animal and plant health; supporting management and conservation of natural resources; ensuring food security; facilitating access to safe and nutritious food; tackling AMR; advancing climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts; and promoting sustainable fisheries and agricultural production.

To anticipate, prevent, detect and respond to plant, animal and foodborne disease outbreaks and AMR, FAO encourages the sharing of epidemiological data and laboratory information across sectors and borders, which can result in more effective coordinated planning and response.

FAO collaborates with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in the FAO-OIE-WHO Tripartite to create and support One Health programmes. Good One Health planning, communication, collaboration and response efforts occur when government officials, researchers and workers across sectors at the local, national, regional and global levels join forces.

Key facts

An estimated 60 percent of human pathogens originate in animals - about three-quarters of which are of wildlife origin.
A One Health approach can reduce potential threats at the human-animal-environment interface, while protecting biodiversity.
United Nations Members support a One Health approach – many have established multisectoral working groups on antimicrobial resistance.
Supporting good agricultural practices is essential to prevent, mitigate and manage plant diseases, ensuring that harvests can feed all people.
Good practices from farm to table represent a One Health approach to food safety.

FAO One Health priorities include:

Strengthening monitoring, surveillance and reporting systems at the regional, national and local levels to prevent and detect animal and zoonotic disease emergence and control disease spread;

Understanding risk factors, including socioeconomic and cultural contexts, for disease spillover from wildlife to domestic animals and humans, to prevent and manage disease outbreaks;

Developing capacities at regional, national and local levels for better coordination and information-sharing among institutions and stakeholders;

Reinforcing veterinary and plant health infrastructure, and safe food and animal production practices from farm to table;

Increasing the capacities of the food and agriculture sectors to combat and minimize the risks of AMR;

Promoting food safety at national and international levels.

Highlights

Publications

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