On March 17, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO); Monique Eloit, Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE); Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO); and Inger Anderson, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), signed a memorandum of understanding to establish cooperation among their organizations.
This Quadripartite Memorandum of Understanding will allow the UN Environment Program (UNEP) to officially join the existing collaboration between the FAO, WHO and OIE as an equal partner and will make it possible to fully integrate environmental challenges into those organizations' joint effort with regard to the One Health approach. Coordination between the four entities will be strengthened thanks to a Joint Plan for Action.
The One Health approach is a cross-cutting, systemic approach to health based on the fact that human and animal health are interdependent and connected to the health of the ecosystems in which they both live. The Covid-19 health crisis, climate change and the steady decline of biodiversity make it necessary to strengthen this approach at the international level.
The establishment of this four-part collaboration contributes to that goal, as do two initiatives launched at France's behest: the One Health High Level Expert Panel, which will submit its first public annual report this spring, and the PREZODE international initiative, which is central to the health agenda of the French Presidency of the EU Council.