UNEP completes the Quadripartite

World Health Day 2022

The United Nations Environment Programme has become the newest member of the renamed Quadripartite Alliance on One Health.

On 18 March 2002, the One Health ‘Tripartite’ of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO) formally became the Quadripartite with the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The rotating chair has also been handed over from FAO to WHO.

The Australian Ambassador for Regional Health Security Dr Stephanie Williams welcomed the move on World Health Day 2022 when the World Health Organization is using the theme ‘Our planet, our health’ to focus global attention on urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy.

“Interconnections and vulnerabilities evident in the relationship between human, animal and environmental health were demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The launch of the new Quadripartite is to be celebrated as a step in the right direction, bringing together all the relevant institutions to ensure sustainable solutions to global health issues, among other important issues,” Dr Williams said.

The Australian Ambassador for the Environment Jamie Isbister noted that collaboration was needed to improve environmental health issues, for example, when addressing air, water and plastic pollution.

"The recent IPCC report highlights the need for strong partnerships including in how we address the increasing impact climate change is having across human and environmental health. Australia looks forward to standing and working together with the Quadripartite Alliance to ensure we thrive together."

The four organisations released a statement in December 2021 stating: “‘One Health’ stands for an integrative and systemic approach to health, grounded on the understanding that human health is closely linked to the healthiness of food, animals and the environment, and the healthy balance of their impact on the ecosystems they share, everywhere in the world."

The work of the newly-expanded alliance will be focused on a One Health Joint Plan of Action, which includes six main action tracks:

  1. enhancing countries’ capacity to strengthen health systems under a One Health approach;
  2. reducing the risks from emerging or resurfacing zoonotic epidemics and pandemics;
  3. controlling and eliminating endemic zoonotic, neglected tropical or vector-borne diseases;
  4. strengthening the assessment, management and communication of food safety risks;
  5. curbing the silent pandemic of antimicrobial resistance (AMR); and
  6. better integrating the environment into the One Health approach.

This follows on from the heads of FAO, OIE, UNEP and WHO, who met in November 2020 at the Paris Peace Forum, enhancing their cross-sectoral collaboration by creating a multidisciplinary One Health High-Level Expert Panel with the support of the governments of France and Germany.

Professor John MacKenzie, a member of the Centre’s Technical Reference Group, was selected to join the panel. Read more on his role here.