On 6 July 2017, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Finland co-organized a side event Global Health Security – a unique momentum for success, an urgent need for a One Health approach during the 40th FAO Conference in Rome. The side event provided an important opportunity to raise awareness and discuss about multisectoral health security work from a One Health perspective among representatives of Members at FAO.
Dr Päivi Sillanaukee, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health of Finland highlighted the importance of strengthening national capacity for health risks as part of the Agenda 2030. Collaboration across sectors, including animal and human health, agriculture, defense, development, environment, food safety, public safety, tourism and trade, as well as high level commitment of all relevant actors are required from the start. This approach is supported by the tripartite collaboration of FAO, OIE and WHO. Dr Ren Wang, Assistant Director-General of the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department of FAO underlined the central role of food, maintaining that it is impossible to have healthy food when the food or the production methods of this food are a risk to consumer safety and public health. FAO is in a key role in inter alia promoting biosafety and biosecurity, preventing zoonotic and high impact animal diseases, and in the work on emergency response and management, antimicrobial resistance, environment, as well as food safety and food security. JEE missions have shown that countries appreciate the One Health approach. Dr Wang called for an in-depth integration of food and agriculture sectors in the JEE.
H.E. Esti Andayani, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to FAO presented Indonesia’s intersectoral coordination on zoonoses control, AMR, and disaster management. Indonesia has recently drafted a Presidential Decree on National Working Group on Global Health Security, which will focus on surveillance, biosafety and biosecurity, and an emergency operations center, among others. Dr Papa Seck, Technical Advisor of the Prime Minister in charge of Animal Health, Livestock, Fisheries and Coordinator of the GHSA, shared Senegal’s best practices on the importance of multi-sectoral and multi-actor collaboration in drafting a national action plan for health security capacity building, including engagement of the private sector.
Naomi Dumbrell, Counsellor Development (Health), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Permanent Mission to Geneva focused on Australia’s regional work on health security, which has been a high Government priority since the SARS and H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks. Australia’s investments in health security are guided by the Government’s Health for Development Strategy 2015–2020, which acknowledges the need to strengthen links between animal and human health systems. Australia’s efforts include programmatic work as well as advocacy at the political level. For example, through the Stop Transboundary Animal Disease and Zoonoses program or ‘STANDZ’, Australia supported the work of the OIE to improve the performance of veterinary services in the prevention, control and eradication of emerging infectious diseases in 11 countries in Southeast Asia and China. In 2015, Australia co-chaired the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA) with Vietnam, and is currently co-chairing the JEE Alliance with Finland. The Government recently appointed an Ambassador for Regional Health Security.
Dr Franck Berthe, Senior Livestock Specialist in the Agriculture Global Practice, the World Bank, highlighted some of the One Health work of the World Bank, including the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement Series of Projects (REDISSE), which aims at strengthening collaboration between human and animal health sectors for disease surveillance and epidemic preparedness as well as response in crisis or emergency. Dr Berthe drew attention to the key findings of the report of the International Working Group on Financing Pandemic Preparedness. Dr Berthe informed about the ongoing work of the EcoHealth Alliance and the World Bank on a tool for evaluating environmental health capacity. In addition, the Health Security Financing Assessment Tool (HSFAT) which is currently in its pilot phase will help address financing at the national level. Dr Berthe underlined the high return on investment of financing preparedness. Dr Christophe Longuet, Executive Director, Connecting Organizations for Regional Disease Surveillance (CORDS) presented the work of CORDS that brings together six different regional networks with the aim of helping prevent and reduce the spread of infectious diseases by exchanging information between surveillance systems globally. An example of a concrete project is a smart phone integrated web interface collecting, analyzing and responding to human and animal health related events in Tanzania. Whilst underlining the importance of One Health for health of people, animals, and our environment, Dr Longuet pointed to the economic benefits of a One Health approach as well.
In the Q & A session moderated by Dr Sebastian Hielm, Director, Food Safety, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland, participants highlighted the role of food safety and food security as an integral part of health security and in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, further exacerbated by inter alia conflicts, drought, or migration. Sustainable capacity building requires engaging all relevant actors across sectors in the process, and ensuring country ownership and high level Government support, as well as developing experience on the practical implementation of One Health. The multi-partner JEE Alliance provides an informal network for raising awareness, as well as for initiating concrete solutions to ensure that One Health remains at the core of the multisectoral, country-owned capacity building processes.