This Issue Brief provides a critical analysis of the various concepts proposed to integrate human health into its animal and ecological environment, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, considered from the perspectives of the effective integration of sustainable development dimensions and their policy implementation.

Key Messages

  • The One Health approach, and the tripartite association between the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), had great potential for the integration of all dimensions of the issues raised by the risk of human infectious diseases of animal origin (zoonoses). However, this concept has largely maintained the disconnection, instead favouring a veterinary infectious disease approach, lacking a real capacity to address environmental dimensions and the means to develop policy instruments.
  • Combining ecology and health, EcoHealth remains overly focused on the analysis of environmental risk factors for human health, failing to propose an approach that integrates health, veterinary and ecological management models.
  • The Global Health approach reflects a strong awareness of the interrelationships between globalization and human health, but remains primarily focused on the individual and medicine.
  • Finally, the Planetary Health concept stems from a recognition of the planet’s limits, proposing an inclusive approach with a particular emphasis on the social dimensions of health, but has not led to practical and effective recommendations.
  • Overall, two issues are apparent, firstly the difficulty of truly integrating the three dimensions of human, animal and environmental health, and secondly the difficulty involved in the policy implementation of the concepts, potentially innovative and ambitious, that have been put forward over the last twenty years to make progress in this field. Such policy implementation must be addressed at the level where it can achieve the greatest effectiveness in terms of preventing the next pandemic: integrated and multilateral.
  • To this end, a multilateral policy and programming mechanism is desirable, based on the model of a United Nations Convention, similar to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, or a cross-cutting action programme such as the Water Convention or UN-Water.
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4 pages
  • Serge Morand,
  • Jean-François Guégan,
  • Yann Laurans