WHO / ONE HEALTH PANEL

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20-May-2021 00:01:35
International organizations have come together to launch a new One Health High-Level Expert Panel to improve understanding of how diseases with the potential to trigger pandemics, emerge and spread. WHO

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STORY: WHO / ONE HEALTH PANEL
TRT: 1:35
SOURCE: WHO
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 20 MAY 2021, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE – GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Aerial shot, WHO headquarters

20 MAY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, Dr Tedros in a conference room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a powerful demonstration that human health does not exist in a vacuum, and nor can our efforts to protect and promote it. The close links between human, animal and environmental health demand close collaboration, communication and coordination between the relevant sectors. One Health is not a new concept, but the High-Level Expert Panel is a much-needed initiative to take it to the next level.”
4. Wide shot, Dr Tedros in a conference room
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Inger Andersen, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP):
“So, we need that one health approach, but let’s be honest, the weakest link in terms of our attention as a global community, in terms of our research and our investment in the animal, human, environmental continuum is environmental health. And together we can fix that. That means over-exploitation of wildlife and natural resources; that means having a conversation about global dietary patterns; that means farming that is natural positive; this means finance that doesn’t destroy nature; and it means investing in the science and the partnerships across disciplines and capacities so that we are able to prepare and prevent the next pandemic.”
6. Wide shot, Dr Tedros in a conference room

STORYLINE:

International organizations have come together to launch a new One Health High-Level Expert Panel to improve understanding of how diseases with the potential to trigger pandemics, emerge and spread.

The panel will advise four international organizations on the development of a long-term global plan of action to avert outbreaks of diseases like H5N1 avian influenza; MERS; Ebola; Zika, and, possibly, COVID-19. The four Organizations are the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The High-Level Panel will operate under the One Health Approach, which recognizes the links between the health of people, animals, and the environment and highlights the need for specialists in multiple sectors to address any health threats and prevent disruption to agri-food systems.

Speaking at a press conference on the launch of the Panel today (20 May), WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the COVID-19 pandemic “is a powerful demonstration that human health does not exist in a vacuum, and nor can our efforts to protect and promote it.”

He added that the close links between human, animal and environmental health “demand close collaboration, communication and coordination between the relevant sectors.” He noted that One Health is not a new concept, but the High-Level Expert Panel is a “much-needed initiative to take it to the next level.”

Dr Tedros said the High-Level Expert Panel will advise on how to breach the gaps between sectors, connecting veterinary and human medicine and environmental issues and to address the challenge of implementation at both the global and country level. He added that one of the many lessons of the pandemic was that we can only confront shared threats with shared solutions.

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said to end the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution the world must understand that human, animal and planetary health are one in the same. She stressed that illnesses that jump from animals to human as a result of degraded environments and unsustainable use of animal resources drive the message home.

Andersen said, “So, we need that one health approach, but let’s be honest, the weakest link in terms of our attention as a global community, in terms of our research and our investment in the animal, human, environmental continuum is environmental health. And together we can fix that. That means over-exploitation of wildlife and natural resources; that means having a conversation about global dietary patterns; that means farming that is natural positive; this means finance that doesn’t destroy nature; and it means investing in the science and the partnerships across disciplines and capacities so that we are able to prepare and prevent the next pandemic.”

Key first steps of the Panel will include systematic analyses of scientific knowledge about the factors that lead to transmission of a disease from animal to human and vice versa; development of risk assessment and surveillance frameworks; identification of capacity gaps as well as agreement on good practices to prevent and prepare for zoonotic outbreaks. WHO said three quarters of all emerging infectious diseases originate in animals.

The panel will consider the impact of human activity on the environment and wildlife habitats. Critical areas will include food production and distribution; urbanization and infrastructure development; international travel and trade; activities that lead to biodiversity loss and climate change; and those that put increased pressure on the natural resource base - all of which can lead to the emergence of zoonotic diseases.

The panel will guide development of a dynamic new research agenda and draw up evidence-based recommendations for global, regional, national and local action and is co-chaired by Dr. Wanda Markotter of South Africa and Dr. Thomas Mettenleiter of Germany.
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