Plenary Session VI: Global Change, Global Health, and New Development Challenges

Chaired by Andreas Rechkemmer

The Plenary Session “Global Change, Global Health, and New Development Challenges” addressed the One Health paradigm from a global change perspective. In doing so, it raised issues and questions around the themes of globalization, equity, sustainability and human and economic development.

The first speaker, Rainer Sauerborn, recalled the evolution of the health/ sustainable development nexus since early achievements in primary health care, via the Rio Earth Summit of 1992 and the World Development Report of 1993 “Investments in Health” until today’s discourses on Global Health and EcoHealth, and concluded that the One Health paradigm and movement stand on the shoulders of sustainable development. He mentioned further examples underlining this notion, e.g. the UN Millennium Declaration and the MDGs, UNFCCC or the IPCC, and showed that “health” has been successfully mainstreamed into all major processes on environment and social and economic development and in fact has become a cross-cutting theme.

The second speaker, Thomas Krafft, highlighted the need for better health information systems and stated that those are in high demand, for instance for measuring progress made on the MDGs. He submitted that integrated health information systems include routine data, flexible case definitions, unspecific information, simple data and analysis, IT and mobile technology, and aim to integrate various health information (sub)systems and share information globally. He concluded that effective One Health knowledge and management requires comprehensive syndromic surveillance systems, e.g. for (re)emerging diseases or for situational awareness during disasters.

The third speaker, Stefan Seebacher, stressed the relevance of the One Health paradigm for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and informed participants that the IFRC actively promotes One Health and a holistic approach, acknowledging that multiple human vulnerabilities require cross-sectoral strategies. He stated that IFRC wishes to engage individuals, communities as well as actors and stakeholders at the national and global levels for enhanced resilience uniting economy, society and politics to effectively respond to climate change and other global change phenomena by placing health/ One Health at the center of attention, including health equity aspects.

The fourth speaker, Andrew Collins, focused on the theme of integrated health risk management in developing areas at the interface of disaster, environment and development challenges. He recalled that integration means complexity and uncertainty but also opportunity, and elaborated on a conceptual model linking health ecology with health security, disease ecology, health management/ governance, and behavior and politics. He submitted that One Health work in this sense would aim at health security and health adaptation, moving from integrated vulnerability to integrated well-being. This requires health risk assessments and investments in well-being during “non-crises”.