Introducing One Health - One Planet - One Future: International Perspectives

Chaired by Walter Ammann

The first GRF One Health Summit was held at the renowned international conference centre in Davos from 19-23 February 2012. Two hundred and seventy delegates from more than 60 countries had registered for it. The summit was co-hosted with the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, and the Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research, Davos, and supported by 38 collaborating institutions. It comprised of eight plenary and 15 parallel sessions, with a total of 125 papers and 16 poster presentations.

Alain Vandersmissen
described the long, historical relationship between human health and animal diseases, starting with developments in ancient Babylonia. The question first began to be tackled seriously in the 19th century, but it was not until 1976 that the concept of One Medicine emerged. This was gradually broadened and transformed into the One Health concept, which in 2004 produced the 12 Manhattan Principles. By 2007, promoting One Health became a natural extension to the global response to avian influenza. A strategic framework evolved in October 2008 and the first One Health conference was held in Canada in 2009. By the Hanoi conference of 2010 the emphasis on avian influenza had broadened to embrace animal influenza as a whole. By the Melbourne conference of 2011 the scientific world had been joined by representatives of the private sector and civil society. Hence it has broadened from an approach to a movement.

The aims have been to improve health and well being, and mitigate crises that originate at the interface between humans, animals and the environment. This will involve a cross-sectoral, collaborative approach and risk management of health hazards in the form of a "whole society approach". It requires communication, collaboration and trust.  One Health links wildlife, economics, sociology, development, environment, together with human and animal health. In this context, the 'all-hazards approach' should include One Health. Thus, the "Towards a Safer World" initiative has been launched under the "soft co-leadership" of the European Union.

Berhe Tekola
presented the position of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, and Bernard Vallat described the role and functions of the World Organisation for Animal Health. Both are key institutions in the One Health initiative. Sixty per cent of all listed human pathogens are of animal origin in zoonosis. Effective measures must rely on good governance. The first step here is to promote and enforce appropriate legislation. A key move is to enhance co-operation between veterinary and public health services--not in the sense of merging them, but in order to share information and expertise, and to work together. This will involve a joint concept note between WOAH, FAO and WHO. One aspect of this is food security, a major public health problem worldwide, which is enhanced by improving animal health.

Maged Younes
described the need for awareness, readiness, response and resilience in the face of threats to food security and safety. Fran├žois Le Gall added that in twelve years eight episodes of zoonosis cost US$3 trillion, led to 70 million human fatalities and cost 4.8 per cent of global GDP. In this context, disease outbreaks in both humans and animals can reverse development. Yet control of diseases and their animal and ecosystem sources is less costly than controlling epidemics and pandemics. The World Bank is working on this problem and has country-focussed priorities. It emphasises the public health impact of diseases and the need to control them at source.

Gary Fitt
described the OECD co-operative research programme, which has significant potential to further the One Health concept and movement.