Global leaders in wildlife and human health are taking further active steps to ensure that governments, academia, and civil society break down barriers and form a united effort to prevent the emergence or resurgence of diseases, like COVID-19, that threaten people, wildlife, and livestock. Simply put: Governments and policymakers across the globe need to embrace and operationalize the concept of One Health first put forth by WCS more than 15 years ago in The Manhattan Principles and again put forth one year ago with an urgent call in October 2019, The Berlin Principles.
Steps being taken now:
Said WCS’s Chris Walzer, the senior author of The Berlin Principles: “We know that governments and others for decades failed to heed the warning signs consistently about risks of global zoonotic pandemics. The One Health approach must be embraced and operationalized by governments and all of society to reduce future risks. An ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure.”
In the paper on The Berlin Principles published this week, the co-authors state: “COVID-19 has shown us the exorbitant cost of inaction. The time to act is now.
“…If we had adopted a precautionary approach to hazards and coordinated in advance a global preparedness plan that bridged all the normal sectoral silos, we would have greatly reduced the risks and impacts of a pandemic. Instead, due to the disconnect between science, economics and politics, we collectively failed.”
Niels Annen, Minister of State, German Federal Foreign Office, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic is at its worst yet - and climate change has not stopped for Covid-19. If the international community can overcome this pandemic in a spirit of solidarity, it will also help us to tackle climate change the same way. The One Health approach demonstrates that international cooperation delivers better, faster and more sustainably than if we all just looked after ourselves.”
Cristián Samper, president and CEO of WCS said: "Now is the time to learn, regroup and move forward to do everything we can, collectively and cooperatively, in all countries, to ensure that we prevent pandemics like COVID-19 in the future. Business as usual is not an option. This includes creating new funding opportunities that break down silos and enable collaborations that allow different sectors and practitioners to work together toward a common goal.”
We urge world leaders, governments, civil society, the global health and conservation communities, academia and scientific institutions, business, finance leaders, and investment holders to:
The co-authors of the paper are from academia and science institutions including University of Oxford, China Agricultural University, Kwame Nkruma University of Science and Technology, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Texas A&M University, Technical University of Munich, University of Oslo, and Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology Vienna; Civil society/NGOs Wildlife Conservation Society, EcoHealth Alliance), Museums (Berlin Natural History Museum; and Intergovernmental Organizations (World Organisation for Animal Health/OIE).
You can read the announcement of The Berlin Principles on October 25, 2019 here:
Global Health Leaders Issue Urgent Call for United Effort to Stop Diseases Threatening All Life on Earth
You can read the announcement of The Manhattan Principles from 2004 here:
One World, One Health: Building Interdisciplinary Bridges to Health in a Globalized World