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 a One Health approach as part of agrifood system transformation for the health of people, animals, plants and the environment. This involves a spectrum of actors and work on sustainable agriculture, animal, plant, forest, and aquaculture health, food safety, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), food security, nutrition 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. A One Health approach is also critical for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

FAO works with partners to promote health systemically, in particular, the Quadripartite which includes FAO, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH). FAO focuses on eliminating hunger, promoting food security, food safety and healthy diets, preventing and controlling transboundary diseases, zoonoses and AMR, to protect the livelihoods of farmers from the impacts of plant and animal diseases, and to increase the sustainability and resilience of agrifood systems, with One Health benefits. We are one world working together for One Heath.

FAO’s role


FAO supports Members to build and implement effective collaborative One Health strategies and capacities, simultaneously addressing the health of people, animals, plants and the environment. A One Health approach is used to design and implement programmes, biosecurity initiatives, enabling policies and, where relevant, regulatory frameworks to ensure health security from communities to national and international level. One Health in agrifood systems transformation is a key Priority Programme Area, and part of FAO's Strategic Framework (2022-2031)

A hub of technical knowledge, FAO embraces One Health in protecting human, animal,plant  and environment 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 zoonotic disease outbreaks and AMR, FAO encourages the sharing of epidemiological data and laboratory information across sectors and borders, which can result in more effective early warning, coordinated planning and response.

FAO’s Joint Centre for Zoonotic Diseases and Antimicrobial Resistance coordinates One Health across different FAO divisions to mainstream One Health in FAO activities.

Externally, FAO collaborates with UNEP, WHO and WOAH as the Quadripartite to address health threats at the human-animal-plant-environment interface and to promote health and sustainable development. The Quadripartite partnership is built on the Tripartite (FAO, OIE, WHO) that was expanded in March 2022, when UNEP signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

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

60 percent of all human infectious diseases are zoonotic in origin and some 75 percent jump species

Key fact 1 bis

High-impact diseases affect crucial livestock-derived foods, which contribute 33 percent of protein and 17 percent of calorie intake of diets, high impact diseases affect the availability and quality of terrestrial animal source foods

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 plate represent a One Health approach to food safety.

Key fact 6

USD 8 trillion to USD 16 trillion is the estimated cost of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key fact 7

In a high-impact scenario, AMR will shave 3.8 percent off global annual GDP by 2050.

FAO One Health priorities include:


Improving early warning systems on animal and plant pests and diseases, including zoonotic diseases at the human-animal-plant-environment (HAPE) interface.

Strengthening biosecurity for pest and disease management in animals and plants, including zoonotic diseases, pests and invasive alien species management.

Facilitating effective emergency preparedness and response for anticipatory action on and response to food-chain emergencies, food safety issues and other health events at the human, animal, plant and environment interface

Heightening AMR risk management at national, regional and global level by supporting One Health responses to AMR in the food and agriculture sector

Enhancing One Health systems through strengthening contributions to One Health and biodiversity, and its ecosystem services, environmental health, soil/land, water, food safety and the sustainability of agri-food systems.

Joint work with the Quadripartite
  • The One Health Joint Plan of Action (OH JPA) outlines the collective vision with 6 action tracks and a theory of change, that the Quadripartite organizations committed to jointly deliver.
  • The One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP) is an advisory group to the Quadripartite that provides evidence-based scientific and policy advice to address the One Health challenges.
  • Enhancing global One Health Intelligence through identifying s greater technical harmonization of the Quadripartite intelligence and data systems for effective early warning of health threats.
  • The AMR Multi-stakeholder Partnership Platform brings stakeholders across the human, animal, plant, and environment interface together to preserve antimicrobials as lifesaving medicines across all sectors
  • The One Health Global Leaders Group on AMR (GLG) strengthens AMR's global political momentum and leadership to catalyze political action and bring together political leaders to address the enormous challenges of AMR
  • The AMR Multi-partner Trust Fund (MPTF) supports joint and coordinated Quadripartite actions on AMR at global, regional and country levels.  
  • The AMR Strategic Framework sets out what the four organizations will jointly do to support countries’ efforts to scale up national responses to antimicrobial resistance.