One Health is an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals and ecosystems. It recognizes that the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment (including ecosystems) are closely linked and inter-dependent.
The approach mobilizes multiple sectors, disciplines and communities at varying levels of society to work together to foster well0being and tackle threats to health and ecosystems, while addressing the collective need for clean water, energy and air, safe and nutritious food, taking action on climate change, and contributing to sustainable development.
The above definition was created by the One Health High Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP) in 2021. The One Health advisory group for Quadripartite organizations consists of four international agencies: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH). The importance of establishing a One Health definition was agreed by the four Partners, to develop a common language and understanding around One Health. The comprehensive One Health definition seeks to promote a clear understanding and translation across sectors and areas of expertise.
One Health to Build Community Resilience Against Disasters and Emergencies
The Eastern Caribbean islands of Barbados and Dominica increasingly face the devastating impacts of natural disasters such as hurricanes including Erma and Maria in Dominica in 2017 causing death and destruction, multi hazard emergencies such as flooding, hurricane, volcanic ash from a neighboring island, and the COVID 19 pandemic as occurred in 2020 and 2021 in Barbados. Their size and location render them vulnerable to climate change, while their information environments are generally weak and susceptible to mis- and dis-information, making it challenging for citizens to access good information necessary to make informed decisions, particularly during crises. To respond to this challenge Internews, with support from the Clara Lionel Foundation, is implementing a project that seeks to build community resilience to future climatic, health and environmental emergencies. One of the objectives of this project is to mainstream knowledge and access to the One Health approach by producing a One Health Toolkit for all information providers.