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UN Agencies call for enhanced collaboration to combat emerging health issues

The heads of the Quadripartite composed of the United Nations agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO),  the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UN-backed World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) came together for the first time to address the continued threat posed by disease spill over between animals and humans, loss of biodiversity and climate change, and gave a clarion call for enhanced global action.

According to a joint statement signed by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and WOAH Director-General Monique Eloit, One Health is seen as the primary approach for addressing pressing and complex challenges of the global community. Recent international health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, mpox, and Ebola outbreaks, as well as the ongoing threats of other zoonotic diseases, food safety, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) challenges, ecosystem degradation, and climate change, highlight the need for resilient health systems and accelerated international action.

The Quadripartite leaders said that they aim to achieve together what no one sector can achieve alone.

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The Quadripartite leaders emphasised the need for increased collaboration and commitment to translate the One Health approach into policy action in all countries, urging countries and key stakeholders to promote and undertake priority actions such as prioritising One Health in the international political agenda, strengthening national One Health policies, strategies, and plans, accelerating the implementation of One Health plans, and developing intersectoral One Health skills.

The signatories further called upon the global community to take urgent steps to encourage and strengthen One Health scientific knowledge and evidence creation and exchange, research and development, technology transfer and sharing and integrating of information and data and facilitate access to new tools and technologies; and increase investment and financing of One Health strategies and plans ensuring scaled up implementation at all levels, including funding for prevention of health threats at source.

“To build one healthier planet we need urgent action to galvanise vital political commitments, greater investment and multisectoral collaboration at every level,” they said.

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