COP 28: To reinforce One Health efforts, nations unveil a practical guide for governance, sectoral integration, and knowledge, addressing global health challenges with a unified approach
The Quadripartite Collaboration on One Health has unveiled a guide to enhance national-level One Health actions. The Guide to Implementing the One Health Joint Plan of Action at the National Level offers operational instructions and signifies a strategic objective for country-focused implementation. The guide was launched in Dubai (UAE) on the COP28 stage. It coincided with the inaugural Health Day and a high-level ministerial meeting on climate and health.
Outlining three pathways—governance, sectoral integration, and evidence and knowledge—and five steps for One Health implementation, the guide acknowledges that a changing climate poses a significant threat to global health.
During the COP28 event, an ocean expert underscored that outdated food systems significantly contribute to climate change, biodiversity loss, water scarcity, soil depletion, and social injustice. He noted a substantial number of modern slaves employed in these food systems and highlighted successful seaweed farming in East Africa, creating job opportunities and empowering women.
Emphasising the need to change the narrative from fear to hope, he envisioned cultivating the ocean to address climate change, restore biodiversity, and alleviate poverty.
The One Health initiative recognises the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health, aiming to foster cooperation among nations and stakeholders. Dr. Amina Benyahia, the Head a.i. of the One Health Initiative at the World Health Organisation, emphasises that the initiative's Guide applies to all nations, irrespective of their implementation status.
Climate change poses risks to animals, humans, and ecosystems, requiring early investment in inclusive and systemic One Health approaches. Doreen Robinson, the Head of Biodiversity and Land at UNEP, stresses the importance of such approaches to ensure a healthier, more resilient future.
COP28 negotiations highlight the crucial role of One Health approaches in addressing climate challenges, with 134 countries supporting a Climate and Health Declaration prioritising health in climate action. The Guide will aid countries in implementing the future accord on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response, guided by the One Health principle.
Thanawat Tiensin, the Director of FAO Animal Production and Health Division, stresses translating the One Health approach into policies, actions, and sustainable financing. Alexandre Ghisleni, Brazil's Global Health Ambassador, highlights the WHO's pivotal role in strengthening coordination for One Health approaches.
Chadia Wannous, the One Health Global Coordinator at WOAH, emphasises that comprehensive One Health implementation requires coordinated actions corresponding to political commitments. Challenges like raising political and financial support, capacity building, information exchange, and technology innovation remain.
The One Health approach offers numerous benefits, improving human, animal, and environmental health with significant economic returns. Dr. Ariane Hildebrandt, Director-General of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), pledges continued exploration of sustainable funding for the One Health approach. The One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP) plays a crucial role in advising the Quadripartite on implementation.
To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set for 2030, it is important to implement the One Health approach, as it provides synergies across sectors for long-term health for all. The Quadripartite commits to catalysing, complementing, and adding value to global and regional One Health initiatives, strengthening capacity to address complex health risks, and create resilient health systems at all levels.