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International partnership to address 'One Health' risks gets boost

FAO, WHO and OIE sign agreement to formalize and strengthen cooperation, with strong focus on tackling antimicrobial resistance.

May 30, 2018

2 Min Read
International partnership to address 'One Health' risks gets boost

The U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) have agreed to step up joint action to combat health threats associated with interactions among humans, animals and the environment.

In a memorandum of understanding signed May 30, FAO, OIE and WHO agreed to strengthen their long-standing partnership, with a strong focus on tackling antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance is a high priority for the three organizations, which are working together to develop global systems for AMR surveillance and use of antimicrobials, a global antimicrobial stewardship program and a monitoring and evaluation framework for the global action plan, according to the announcement. A current comprehensive framework of international standards on responsible and prudent use of antimicrobials is regularly adapted to keep up with the further development of scientific knowledge, the organizations said.

In addition to antimicrobial resistance, the new agreement will focus on improving disease forecasting capabilities for more informed and swifter responses to emerging and endemic zoonotic diseases (including foodborne diseases), helping countries strengthen their national health systems and undertaking joint activities related to reduction of threats.

"Over 60% of existing and emerging pathogens affecting humans originate in animals -- 75% of these from wildlife. So, we cannot deal with human health, animal health and ecosystem health in isolation; we have to look at them together and address them together. This partnership pools the unique expertise of each organization and brings their combined weight to bear to do just that via a 'One Health' approach," FAO director-general Jose Graziano da Silva said.

"Each sector has its own specificities, but the members countries of our three organizations face the same challenges. Our collaboration is, therefore, fundamental to better help them respond, demonstrating that partnerships between international organizations support those at the regional, national and even local levels. This shows that the One Health approach is not just a concept; it's a daily reality that we build together through the development and the implementation of an ambitious working program focused on our common priorities," OIE director general Dr. Monique Eloit added.

WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "The threat of antimicrobial resistance affects humans, animals and our ecosystem. That's why the Tripartite Partnership of WHO, FAO and OIE is so vital. Working together is the only way to avoid the huge human, social, economic and environmental costs of antimicrobial resistance."

FAO, WHO and OIE have been working together since the 1940s and, in 2010, formally established collaborative work on antimicrobial resistance and tackling diseases such as influenza and rabies. In 2017, their second strategic document was released reaffirming their commitment.

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