GRF - Outcomes of the 2nd GRF One Health Summit in Davos

The 2nd GRF One Health Summit Davos 2013 “One Health, One Planet, One Future”, organized by the Global Risk Forum GRF Davos under the patronage of OIE and FAO from 17 – 20 November 2013 in Davos, Switzerland has brought some 350 people from 65 countries together, addressing the current status and further evolution of the One Health approach.

The One Health Summit addressed and framed the complex interactions between human health, livestock, pet and wildlife health, ecosystems health, climate, agriculture, food systems and human development. It included aspects of nutrition, the safety and security of food supplies, environmental stewardship and the management of natural resources, water, sanitation, energy, and ecosystems services, as well as questions of awareness, behaviour and learning, governance, economics, risk management, and disaster preparedness, social equity and justice.

A subsequent workshop on the 21 November, co-organized by the Michigan State University, CK CARE AG, and GRF Davos, gathered some 30 international experts and tried to synthesize the conference outcomes and to draft an international research, education, and implementation strategy.

The deliberations and discussions have revealed that the One Health approach has further evolved to a broad and holistic, inter- and transdisciplinary paradigm which frames the complex interactions between human, animal, and environmental health. Mitigating the impacts from threats like emerging pathogens, toxicant releases, climate change, and changes in the built environment requires a repooling of global public health resources and capabilities across multiple disciplines. By collaboration among multiple professions such as veterinary medicine, human medicine, environment, wildlife, livestock, agriculture, food security and public health, One Health can substantially contribute to reduce existing and emerging global threats and support the overall strategy for the post 2015 sustainable development agenda.

From a GRF Davos’ perspective, it was encouraging to see that the integrative risk approach in managing the many kinds of risks has significantly evolved within the One Health community and is increasingly been used as an essential tool for an effective and efficient handling of health risks. Keeping in mind that more than half of the worldwide population is already living in urban areas and rural exodus continues to grow dramatically, One Health may become a crucial approach to successfully cope with all the drivers and consequences in urbanization dynamics.
One Health has begun to definitively move beyond the status of a mere concept to become a truly global movement at the interface of science, society, policy and practice.
It is deeply interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial and provides a fascinating, powerful framework that a variety of professional communities and social groups can adhere to. Our best hope is that the One Health paradigm will be helpful in reversing the worst of current problems at the human-animal-environment and development interface thus fostering a more sustainable way of life.
Despite these positive steps forward, various obstacles and problems have been identified such as problems with funding, the access to data, issues with communication and cooperation, implementation of the One Health approach, lack of awareness, education, attitudes and beliefs.
Based on the discussions and inputs from the participants, the 2nd GRF One Health Summit 2013 identified four key areas of focus:

• Creation of a long term research vision and agenda for One Health

• Foster interdisciplinary research programmes linking policy, economics, social sciences and “hard” sciences.

• Intensify evidence based, applied research and provide scientifically sound cost benefit analysis of One Health approaches including social factors.

• Show-case the added value of One Health approaches by collecting a number of systematic case studies based on the holistic One Health approach.

• Knowledge and data sharing - Free access to data across the various sectors would substantially increase the evidence based outcomes and ease the development of early warning, surveillance, and monitoring systems.

• Cost efficient surveillance systems - Development of cost efficient and easy to use technologies for surveillance and assessments.
Education and training

• Conduct a comprehensive needs assessment for One Health Education and Training.

• Develop an international didactic framework for One Health education and training in collaboration with government, business and non-governmental organisations.

• One Health education should complement existing models and frameworks of education and training.

• Develop a One Health education and training culture.

• Coordinate and integrate One Health initiatives and involve student organisations.

• Develop centres of excellence for education and training in specific areas through enhanced collaboration among colleges and schools of veterinary medicine, human medicine, nutrition, agriculture, and public health.
Implementation from research to policy and practice

• Strengthen the work at boundaries and interfaces – between people, species, systems, professions, cultures.

• Create and communicate a common understanding of the One Health approach.

• Partner with other initiatives and approaches to maintain and increase momentum and outreach (TAWS, One Health Initiative, EcoHealth, etc.)

• Develop mechanisms and a common language for interdisciplinary communication, coordination and collaboration.

• Seek financing mechanisms that support and promote effective investments for One Health approaches in communities to improve the welfare of people and other living species.

• Develop, promote and harmonize platforms for open access to data and information.

• Institutionalize international One Health collaboration and strengthen One Health advocacy.

• Identification and quantification of long term benefits of One Health.

• Focus on surveillance, early detection, rapid response and monitoring.

• Move away from emergency response to sustained risk reduction and risk management across sectors and borders.

• Improve knowledge and technology transfer.

• Foster public-private partnerships.

• Show-case that One Health provides the opportunity for cost reductions and cost efficiencies in various operational activities.

• Seek financing mechanisms that support and promote effective investments for One Health approaches in communities to improve the welfare of people and other living species.

• Strengthen prevention to reduce the lack of investment in preventive measures. To strengthen the integrative risk management process will provide the necessary tools for a risk based, effective and efficient priority setting.

• Need for cross-agency and cross-sectorial funding to study interfaces (e.g., medicine, science, social science) and encourage multi-sectorial (multi-disciplinary) collaboration. Reduce the disparities in funding.

• Gain support donors and decision makers for increased funding opportunities.

Based on these four key areas, a research, education and implementation strategy is currently drafted and will be made available for review to all conference participants. All seven Plenary Sessions and the related key-note lectures have been video recorded and are available online on the GRF Davos website (, as well all the slide presentations, pictures and short video statements of the many experts, present at the Summit.

The 3rd GRF One Health Summit will be held from 5 – 8 November 2014, again at the Conference Center in Davos, Switzerland. For further information on the Summit and its outcome please contact:

Davos, 29 November 2013
Dr. Walter J. Ammann
Global Risk Forum GRF Davos