Our interactive Workshop on the Institutionalisation of One Health held on the afternoon of 21st June 2023, gathered 68 invited attendees from the One Health EJP Stakeholder Conference 2023 at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels.
This event provided the opportunity for presentations, panel discussions and informal debates between speakers and attendees to consider the current barriers to the institutionalisation of One Health and strategies to overcome them. Since participants included representatives of governmental institutions from the EU and third countries, EU agencies, and exponents of industry and citizens’ associations, their wide variety of professional experience generated thought-provoking dialogue at the workshop.
The workshop examined some crucial questions:
Whilst the One Health approach is now well-recognised, how is it applied in practice within public health, veterinary and environment organisations? What is the current state of play of One Health institutionalisation in Europe? What can be done to improve the integration of social scientists and researchers from diverse disciplines into One Health?
Overall, the aim of the workshop was to prepare a roadmap document on the institutionalisation of One Health. The document is intended to be an operational tool and a guidance for countries deciding to implement a system to pursue a more effective and comprehensive health protection in the broader sense, according to the principles laid down in the One Health approach.
An initial presentation by Stefano Morabito from Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), Italy, highlighted the role of the One Health EJP in the institutionalisation of One Health. Stefano shared the details of our Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA), which includes our Sustainability Plan for 2021-2030. This plan recommends actions that will result in maintaining major outcomes of the One Health EJP for their benefits to persist and broaden the scope of One Health in the future, relevant for institutionalisation strategies.
The state of play of One Health institutionalisation was subsequently discussed. Sarah Humboldt-Dachroeden (Roskilde University) of PhD project SUSTAIN explained how her research has improved understanding of the drivers and constraints for the institutionalisation of the One Health approach across Europe. SUSTAIN has provided insights into the challenges and opportunities that can be used to facilitate One Health institutionalisation, create networks, and bridge disciplinary silos.
The open panel discussion between three high level One Health researchers: Henrik Ullum – CEO of Statens Serum Institut (SSI), Denmark, Ann Lindberg – Director General of the National Veterinary Institute (SVA), Sweden, and Umberto Agrimi – Director of the Department of food safety, nutrition and veterinary public health at Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), Italy, was skilfully moderated by Dolores Gavier-Widén – Department Head of pathology and wildlife diseases at the National Veterinary Institute (SVA), Sweden. This session provided varied European perspectives on the challenges to One Health institutionalisation (e.g., funding imbalance across sectors) and potential opportunities for its improvement in the future, such as breaking down silos and improved integration of the environmental sector.
Five leading One Health EJP members then shared the main components of the institutionalisation of One Health produced by the One Health EJP scientific research, education and training, and science to policy translation activities. The final “missing tiles” roundtable discussion provided lively audience debate on ideas for items that should be included for One Health institutionalisation to be successful, thus helping to shape the proposal for the roadmap document.
Our thanks to Dolores Gavier-Widén (National Veterinary Institute – SVA, Sweden) and Stefano Morabito (Istituto Superiore di Sanità – ISS, Italy) as joint One Health EJP Sustainability Leaders for organising this workshop. We look forward to the delivery of the roadmap document later in 2023 and its future impact on One Health initiatives.