Professor Susanna Sternberg-Lewerin, from the World Veterinary Association (WVA) One Health Working Group urged World Health Organization (WHO) member states to ‘keep both prevention and a One Health approach front and centre’ as she addressed the latest round of Pandemic Accord negotiations on behalf of Action for Animal Health (A4AH) on Monday 6 November.
Monday marked the start of the 7th meeting of the International Negotiating Body (INB) in Geneva, established in December 2021 to draft and negotiate a convention, agreement or other international instrument under the Constitution of WHO to strengthen pandemic, prevention, preparedness and response.
A4AH warns that spill-over of pathogens from both wild and domestic animals to people is the predominant cause of emerging infectious diseases and recommends that the negotiating text makes obligations around prevention and One Health as precise as possible.
Drawing on the threat of spill-over in relation to Avian Influenza outbreaks, A4AH’s statement said: “We need to prevent, detect and respond to outbreaks of any zoonotic disease in animals at the earliest stage for maximum impact.”
The coalition also highlighted the economic benefit of taking a One Health approach to prevention, which would cost just one third of the cost of managing a pandemic.
Action for Animal Health is a coalition of partners that advocates for more investment in strong and resilient animal health systems that protect people, animals and the planet.
Read the coalition’s full recommendations for INB7 here.