In partnership, the OIE, WHO, FAO and UNEP have established a One Health High-Level Expert Panel to advise the four organisations on scientific evidence to support risk management at the human—animal—environment interface.
The 12th of November 2020 marked a special day for advocates and practitioners of One Health and encouraged others to consider how the health of people, animals and the environment is interconnected.
On this day, at the Paris Peace Forum, the Ministerial Meeting of the Alliance for Multilateralism(1) called upon the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to create a One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP).
The Alliance for Multilateralism was formed to protect and preserve international standards and agreements, as well as to support the agendas of multilateral organisations in the delivery of their mandates to support citizens across the globe. This bodes well for the OIE, whose raison d’être (in part) is to publish standards in an environment where multilateralism has less importance, but also for our collective call to action for One Health. As such, following a request from the Alliance, colleagues in FAO, OIE, UNEP and WHO worked together on the terms of reference for the OHHLEP, as well as on a call for experts.
While the FAO–OIE–WHO collaboration has advocated for a One Health approach to address health issues at the human–animal–environment interface for decades, this request to establish the OHHLEP strengthens our One Health strategy. With the Panel, we will have access to more diverse expertise in disciplines beyond public, veterinary and environmental health to include social, economic and behavioural sciences. This will make our approach to One Health a more refined instrument with which to examine the complex health issues before us. In addition, the inclusion of UNEP in the FAO–OIE–WHO collaboration further bolsters our collective vision of a more coherent One Health approach in the face of current and future health issues over the long term.
(1) The Alliance for Multilateralism was launched by the French and German Foreign Ministers as an informal network of countries united in their conviction that a rules-based multilateral order is the only reliable way to guarantee international stability and peace and that our common challenges can only be solved through cooperation.