Draft 1, 17.04.2023
Interconnectedness of human, animal and environmental health
The number of re-emerging infections and new infections originating in animals (i.e. zoonoses) have increased. About 60% of globally reported emerging infectious diseases are transmitted from wild and domesticated animals. In the last three decades over 30 new human pathogens have been detected, of which 75% originated in animals. (WHO, 2022) This calls for improved surveillance to quickly detect as well as strengthened diagnostic capacities to identify emerging pathogens. Humans have changed their behavior: the way we live, moving out of urban contexts into more rural areas where we encroach into forest populations or areas where animals reside creating pressure on local ecosystems. Changes in land such as the building of dams as well as changes in food and agriculture systems further stress ecosystems and create new opportunities for diseases to emerge and spread. Our existing surveillance systems are either heavily biased towards human health or too fragmented in between sectors, thus neglecting almost entirely the dynamics of pathogens in the animal and environment sector. Our perception of prevention has been exclusively anchored around preventing the spread of diseases, rather than preventing the spillover from animals to humans, causing our response to emerging zoonosis too late to prevent outbreaks and pandemics (Le Moli, 2023).
For 2040 we envision the guiding principle around the world will be that human health cannot be defined without considering environmental and animal health as these three interfaces are intrinsically linked. Consequently, when considering emerging diseases at their intersection, they will either be prevented entirely or immediately identified and contained. The following paragraphs will outline several policy recommendations to pave the way of our 2040 vision.
Community involvement + indigenous wisdom
One of the key ways to prevent the re-emergence of disease at human-animal-environment interface can be through the application of Traditional Knowledge by Indigenous Peoples. As original custodians of the land, Indigenous Peoples are the cornerstone of biodiversity and conservation (Garnier, 2020) and, in fact, conserve about 80% of the world’s biodiversity (Vijayan, 2022). Indigenous values are already embedded within the One Health approach but are often overlooked (Jack, 2020). By incorporating Traditional Knowledge with Western science we can address fundamental challenges including sustainable food production, ways to adapt to climate change and stewardship in sustaining thriving habitats (Antonelli, 2023; Herman 2016; Jack, 2020). Some of these sustainable practices include the move to permaculture, agroforestry and soil fertility management (Khumbane, 2004; Gosai, 2011). It’s important to note that the application of these efforts need to be done in collaboration with the communities who know their particular region best as Indigenous peoples are not a monolith and each community's practices vary from one another. Community engagement can further drive these changes through knowledge sharing within local communities such as through food security workshops that enable community members to mobilise and put these approaches into practice (Henley, 2021). By ensuring Indigenous peoples are included in decision-making processes we can transform our relationship with our environment and create systemic change. In this process, we must also ensure that Indigenous peoples also benefit from sharing their knowledge and practices, both in monetary and non-monetary forms (Antonelli, 2023).
Collaborations at the intersection of human-animal-environment interface is predicted to increase due to Covid-19, thus it is important to ensure alignment of these collaborations towards addressing gaps identified in our pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, including gaps in surveillance systems.
A de-compartmentalized surveillance systems based on the One Health approach is essential for early detection of pathogens with pandemic potential, especially emerging and re-emerging pathogens from the animal sector (Jeggo and Mackenzie, 2014). Most importantly, the geographical mismatch between One Health hotspots and One Health surveillance and laboratory networks needs to be addressed (Allen et al., 2017). Pathogens with pandemic potential tend to emerge away from Europe, where most One Health networks and global collaborations exist (Mwatondo et al., 2023). Local capacity to detect and report to spillover of pathogens at their source is crucial in response effectiveness and outbreak prevention, indicating the importance for national capacity building for trained workforce, laboratory equipment, community engagement, and sustainable financing, supported by a global collaboration for sharing data, samples, and expertise (Bordier et al., 2020). With the idea of deep prevention, a One Health surveillance and laboratory network would prevent spillovers from happening in the first place, and could detect them at an early pre-outbreak stage, if spillover happens (Vinuales et al., 2021).
- Global political commitment to establishment of inter-sectoral One Health surveillance systems and laboratory networks. (Members states and their relevant ministries with support from the quadripartite.)
- Training and capacity building of One Health workforce, including laboratory technicians and scientists. (Member states)
- Laboratory capacity building, information and sample sharing, data collection and dissemination at local and national levels. (Member states, academia, laboratories)
Biodiversity loss + land use
As mentioned in the introduction, continued land use changes increase pressure on existing ecosystems making them more vulnerable and increasing the risk of the transmission of emerging disease in animals to humans. The way we use land is one of the biggest threats for biodiversity loss.This concerns the conversion of land covers such as forests or other natural habitats for agricultural and urban uses. As agricultural expansion continues we must reconsider the ways in which we grow and consume to reduce pressure on ecosystems. (UNEP, 2022a) A more holistic approach such as One Health is needed to understand the link between healthy ecosystems and human health outcomes.
- Providing technical and financial support to stimulate community initiatives in sustainable land management abroad while also focusing on sustainable land management in Switzerland to better balance use of remaining land resources (UNEP, 2022b). (especially Swiss government through SDC and other relevant ministries; UNEP)
- Restoration of degraded and disused farmland to support the protection and restoration of critical ecosystems such as forests and wetlands (UNEP, 2022a). (Local and regional governments)
- Continued work on drafting and, once in place, implementing the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework with focusing on creating financing and accountability mechanisms to achieve the framework’s targets (UNEP 2021). (member states and other non-state actors)
- Investment in research to better understand the linkages between biodiversity loss and the health of the human-animal-environment interface (member states, Quadripartite/OHHLEP)
Looking forward to 2040, institutional data-sharing has to become a focal point of preventing and containing the spread of infectious diseases. According to scholars, a multi-stakeholders data-sharing agreement encompassing private and public actors’ ressources should enable researchers to overcome the barriers of accessing relevant data from for-profit firms (Staley et al., 2019). Regarding the interplay between human and animal health, intra-institutional exchanges have to be promoted within the UN agencies to ensure that the sectoral compartmentalization of UN agencies does not jeopardize efforts to bridge human and animal data usage. Informational ties with regional “national collaborative One Health coordinating mechanisms” such as those already deployed in Kenya and Vietnam (Belay et al., 2017) are to be generalized, as they directly address specific human-animal interfaces at a local level. The international financing of those mechanisms could be granted in exchange for the implementation of strict open-data policies.
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Gosai, K., Arunachalam, A., Dutta, B. K., & Prasanna, K. G. (2011). Indigenous knowledge of soil fertility management in the humid tropics of Arunachal Pradesh.
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Background on the issue your vision is tackling:
Drivers of the (re-)emergence of disease at human-animal interface are insufficiently being addressed
- Industrial agri-food systems, land use change, wildlife trade and AMR are not sufficiently included into pandemic PPP while they are part of root causes of pandemic outbreaks.
- Lacking surveillance systems and laboratory capacity with One Health approach.
Notes from backcasting exercise:
Drivers of the emergence of disease at human-animal-environnement interface are addressed and human-animal interfaces are a lot safer
-> 1 PREVENTING : ensuring bio-diversity through smart agri-food systems governance
-> 2 MITIGATING : using information sharing for surveillance and mitigating risks
Guiding principle -> HUMAN HEALTH CANNOT BE DEFINED WITHOUT CONSIDERING ENVIRONNEMENTAL AND ANIMAL HEALTH (integrating those two aspects)
- Horizon: 2040
- IN CASE OF A PANDEMIC, the level of readiness is high enough to react quickly and effectively, at a systems-level
- Empathizing on Mitigating by information sharing / preventing by preserving bio-diversity
- IN CASE OF A PANDEMIC, the level of readiness is high enough to react quickly and effectively, at a systems-level
- 1- Farmers are protected, because of the high level of surveillance developed in recent years
- 1 - Human, animal and plant bio-diversity is preserved
- 2 - Open data policies allow for an even more effective surveillance
- 2 - AMR is better addressed via the previous data-sharing policies and AI
- 1 - forestation is stopped, stopping the spread of zoonoses to humans
- 1 - Dying insects problem is solved by international regulations
- 2 - Data standardisation for surveillance purposes - the same for humans and animals
- 2 - Strict common industry standards for agriculture
- 1 - Food wasting disappears due to technology, and allows for a more sustainable agriculture
- 1 - Involvement of Indigenous peoples wisdom & local communities
- 2 - Effective data-gathering to integrate information coming from animal, environmental and human health knowledge
- 2 - Knowledge-sharing from local farmers is implemented through different societies around the world
Health : our health cannot be addressed without considering the health of the environment and animal health
- Systematic data sharing enables us to address AMR
- Treaty on that matter
- No more over-usage of antibiotics
- AI to address AMR issue
- Human-animal environment is one (no anthropocentrism)
- One-Heat strategy recognised
- Becomes a principle like a principle, an encompassing concept
- Relation with indigenous knowledge and their vision of the world.
- Strict common industry standards for agriculture
- Food system
- Soil nutriments depletion
- Indigenous knowledge is key to prevent diseases, build a food system
- Production that is proportionate to our needs
- Dairy productions propaganda and adulthood, relations to health
- Land usage
- Deforestation has stopped
- Legally binding agreements
- Like Humans Rights started with specific things (not killing prisoners) from having broader concepts.
- One Health New World Order based upon the surveillance, not only of humans, but everything.
- Technology (AI, Data sharing)
- Human society and animal health
Collective brainstorming on the following questions:
- Which policy measures should be taken?
- Who should act in CH, internationally? → 3 policy angles (multilateral level, CH policies at the national level + through engagement abroad e.g. development policy)