"We can only prevent future pandemics with an integrated One Health approach to public health, animal health and the environment we share," the WHO Director-General said in the opening the 27th Tripartite Annual Executive Committee Meeting World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
One Health is an approach to designing and implementing programmes, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes.
The areas of work in which a One Health approach is particularly relevant include food safety, the control of zoonoses, and combatting antibiotic resistance.
The WHO chief pointed out that approximately 70 percent of all emerging and re-emerging pathogens are zoonotic, jumping from animals to humans.
To effectively detect, respond to, and prevent outbreaks of zoonoses and food safety problems, epidemiological data and laboratory information should be shared across sectors.
Government officials, researchers and workers across sectors at the local, national, regional and global levels should implement joint responses to health threats.
WHO works closely with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to promote multi-sectoral responses to food safety hazards, risks from zoonoses, and other public health threats at the human-animal-ecosystem interface and provide guidance on how to reduce these risks.