We celebrate the success of our Stakeholder Conference “Collaborating to face future One Health challenges in Europe” from 19th to 21st June 2023, held at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels. This conference was followed by an interactive Workshop on the Institutionalisation of One Health for invited attendees on the afternoon of 21st June 2023.
Thanks to all invited speakers, both internal and external to our Consortium, for sharing their insights on the future of One Health in Europe and beyond at our impactful three-day hybrid event. Our wide range of speakers and panellists included Directorate-Generals and senior representatives from EU and international agencies, scientific research institutes, pharmaceutical, veterinary, public health, environment, and consumer organisations, in addition to One Health EJP scientists and leaders, as detailed in our conference agenda. The conference was divided into four main themes to ensure that the content was appealing to the broad audience in attendance. These themes included One Health in Europe, One Health in Practice, Beyond Classic One Health and The Future. Multiple sessions were delivered within these themes, involving dynamic presentations and roundtable panel discussions.
We appreciate the fantastic engagement by our international participants who attended in person or online, as their questions and comments encouraged further debate on the One Health topics discussed. The conference attendance included 122 on site and several hundred online participants over the three-day period.
The conference enabled our Consortium members to demonstrate the wider impact of One Health EJP research and education/training activities by explaining how our outputs and outcomes align to meet the needs of our stakeholders across Europe. This was emphasised by Jean-Charles Cavitte, Research Policy Officer from the Directorate-General of Agriculture and Development at the European Commission who explained how the One Health EJP positively responded to the needs identified by his organisation through its coordinated One Health approach. A roundtable discussion involving four Directorate-Generals of the European Commission provided further ideas on applying One Health scientific theory into practice, beyond what has already been achieved by our Consortium.
At this event, we were pleased to showcase the OHEJP Joint Integrative Projects of COVRIN, MATRIX, OH-HARMONY-CAP, CARE, ORION, COHESIVE and the OHEJP SIMEX outbreak simulation exercise. Consortium researchers explained how these projects have led to cross-sector harmonisation of One Health approaches to benefit prevent-detect-response activities and improve disease outbreak preparedness in Europe. Eleven OHEJP Joint Research Project shared the outcomes and practical applications of their research to develop innovative solutions to the health threats of antimicrobial resistance, foodborne zoonoses and emerging threats. We also described the relevance of our extensive science to policy translation work to further address policymakers’ requirements. Overall, this had led to improved integration of One Health activities within countries and across borders.
Other conference sessions addressed a wide variety of topics including: the concerns of society and consumers about One Health issues; involvement of the environment, social sciences, and the private sector in One Health activities; new One Health trajectories of EU agencies; measures to strengthen Global Health Security Processes, and the innovative technologies available for better preparedness and response to health crises.
Some key messages from conference included:
One Health education: It is important to tailor education and training to a wider audience and include environmental aspects.
One Health in Europe from theory to practice: The breaking down of silos is essential and has already led to some good outcomes, but challenges remain to put ideas into practice, which requires a more integrated approach.
Beyond classic One Health: Involve social scientists in One Health, as knowledge of human behaviour will help to inform public engagement activities. The environment must also be better incorporated in One Health, and emphasis must be put on global issues. There was recommendation for the idea to use nature based solutions to tackle issues of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution that pose health threats across species and ecosystems.
New One Health trajectories of EU agencies: ECDC, EFSA , EEA and EMA representatives advised on further increasing cross agency collaboration to improve One Health capacity. With the Agencies updating on the newly established One Health cross-agency Task Force for greater impact in Europe. The EU approach will be inclusive, cohesive and bold.
The future for an inclusive One Health: Further develop interdisciplinary collaborations that include a greater variety of professionals to broaden the scope of One Health. This will require increased education opportunities and wider research funding for encouraging innovation.
At this conference, we also explained how our involvement and connection with the Med-Vet-Net Association will enable the legacy of our work to continue once the One Health EJP programme finishes in September 2023. The SRIA provides the plan for One Health EJP sustainability to ensure our scientific research has impact over the remainder of this decade.
Our thanks to the key One Health EJP organisers at the following institutions Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR), Statens Serum Institut (SSI), Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire (Anses), Sciensano, Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) and the University of Surrey, for their contributions to ensure the success of this event.
We anticipate that our conference will help to broaden One Health collaborations across sectors and societies for contributing to future One Health initiatives.
As One Health EJP Project Coordinator Arnaud Callegari from Anses said about the achievements of our Consortium: “Know where you come from to understand where you are going: a leap into the past for a plunge into the future.” Although the One Health EJP will soon finish, the legacy of our work will remain. We are stronger together, as the future of One Health depends upon greater collaboration, cooperation and courage!
You can access a wide variety of presentations from the One Health EJP Stakeholder Conference, delivered by various speakers that are available here.