One Health

One Health is an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals and ecosystems. It recognizes the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment (including ecosystems) are closely linked and inter-dependent. (OHHLEP One Health definition, 2021)

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 agriculturefood safetyantimicrobial 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. The Tripartite also works closely with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to ensure environmental health is addressed in the One Health spectrum. 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
Key fact 1

An estimated 60 percent of human pathogens originate in animals - about three-quarters of which are of wildlife origin.


Key fact 2

A One Health approach can reduce potential threats at the human-animal-environment interface, while protecting biodiversity.

Key fact 3

United Nations Members support a One Health approach – many have established multisectoral working groups on antimicrobial resistance.

Key fact 4

Supporting good agricultural practices is essential to prevent, mitigate and manage plant diseases, ensuring that harvests can feed all people.


Key fact 5

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