A publication coordinated by Cirad and the Institute of Tropical Medicine, with the participation of the IRD, published in The Lancet Global Health, a leading medical journal, calls for strengthening the global governance of health by continuing to institutionalise the “One Health” approach. The goal is to improve pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.
The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for better global governance of pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (PPPR). The World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) thus signed a joint plan of action in 2022 to better institutionalise and operationalise the “One Health” approach.
The crisis also highlighted the importance of coordinating knowledge production at the global level and improving access to it between different countries and populations. In an article published in The Lancet Global Health, a team of researchers examines the advantages and disadvantages of creating an Intergovernmental Panel for One Health (IPOH).
Similar to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an IPOH would facilitate knowledge uptake in policymaking through a multisectoral “One Health” approach, and would thus support the control of infectious disease emergence and re-emergence at the human-animal-environment interface.
“A structure of this kind would bring together a global network of scientists to produce syntheses of knowledge and to assess avenues for action. This would represent a change of scale for the OHHLEP Expert Panel set up at the request of WHO, WOAH, FAO and UNEP in May 2021, which is a light structure of 26 experts”, says Alexandre Hobeika, a researcher in political science at Cirad and co-lead author of the publication. The “One Health” approach considers human health in connection with animal and environmental health.
According to the authors, the creation of a larger panel with greater scope would be beneficial in that it would keep pandemic preparedness on the policy agenda, improve the quality of the scientific debate and better represent the interests of poor countries and marginalised populations. However, it would be likely to complicate the system and to lack real impact. But “its cost would be limited and its effectiveness would mainly depend on the political uptake of its recommendations”.
The researchers advocate integrating these advantages and disadvantages into the design of institutional reforms for a more effective world health system. To limit future risks, the authors insist on the need to strengthen prevention, the resilience of socio-economic systems and equity between populations.
Hobeika Alexandre, Stauffer Maxime Henri Tibault, Dub Timothee, Van Bortel Wim, Beniston Martin, Bukachi Salome, Burci Gian Luca, Crump Lisa, Markotter Wanda, Sepe Ludovico Pasquale, Placella Enrichetta, Roche Benjamin, Thiongane Oumy, Wang Zhanyun, Guérin Frédérique, Van Kleef Esther. 2023. The values and risks of an intergovernmental panel for one health to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. Lancet Global Health, 11 (8) : 1301-1307. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(23)00246-2
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