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FAO-OIE-WHO: A Tripartite alliance for ‘One Health’

19-21 April 2010 90 years of expertise

April 2010: FAO, OIE and WHO publish a Tripartite Concept Note describing their collaboration to address health risks at the human-animal-environment interface.

This Concept Note, signed by the Directors General of the three International Organisations, formalises ‘sharing responsibilities and coordinating global activities to address health risks at the animal-human-ecosystems interfaces’.

Animals, humans,diseases: preserving ‘One Health’

  • 60 % of pathogens affecting humans are of animal origin
  • 75 % of 'emerging' pathogens are also of animal origin
  • As are also 80 % of pathogens that could potentially be used for bioterrorism

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We are living in a world that is constantly evolving and in a context of unprecedented globalisation. Increasing movement of commodities and people, climate change and changes in human behaviour, and increasing interactions between animals and humans multiply the opportunities for pathogens to spread across the globe. It also promotes the transmission of zoonoses (diseases or infections that are naturally transmissible from animal to humans) at worldwide level.

While controlling pathogens at their source in animals is clearly the best approach to protect human health, its success depends on a combination of early detection of and rapid response to animal diseases. To this end, the OIE develops standards and recommendations, adopted by its 178 Member Countries, for the prevention and control of diseases of animal origin and for the safety of international trade in animals and animal products.

On a wider scale, partnerships between public health and animal health bodies are crucial in order to control the emergence of zoonoses throughout the globe. Coordinating the many people working in the human, animal and environmental health sectors, at a national as well as regional and international scale, is essential for optimal results.

Within this framework, the OIE, FAO and WHO have together been applying the ‘One Health’ since 2010, to address health risks at the human-animal-environment interface.
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FAO-OIE-WHO: an intersectoral global strategy

Within the framework of the Tripartite Alliance, FAO, the OIE and WHO recognise their respective responsibilities in fighting diseases, including zoonoses, that can have a serious health and economic impact. They have been working together for numerous years to prevent, detect, control and eliminate disease risks to humans originating directly or indirectly from animals. Since 2010, they have formally undertaken to work closely together, with joint strategies at the human-animal-environment interface, to support their Member Countries.

Working together, they synergise their expertise and communication on topics of mutual interest, to mobilise their public and private sector partners, the governments of their Member Countries and public opinion.

The three Organisations meet regularly and their main actions are aimed at improving:

  • the collection of epidemiological data, by coordinating their health surveillance and early warning systems. GLEWS, the Global Early Warning and Response System for Major Animal Diseases, including Zoonoses, combines the alert and response mechanisms of the three Organisations to coordinate the verification procedures for diseases throughout the world. The OIE contributes data from its animal health information system, WAHIS;
  • the consistency of their standard-setting activities (OIE, Codex Alimentarius Commission), by participating in their respective working groups;
  • health risk assessment and management;
  • capacity building for their Member Countries.

These actions can help to provide early warning of the emergence of animal and human diseases and ensure a rapid, targeted response, allowing disease outbreaks to be controlled before they can spread to the rest of the world.

Within the framework of their tripartite alliance, the three Organisations have, since 2011, set themselves three priority areas:

©A.Thiermann / OIE / OIE.

Zoonotic influenza

Combating antimicrobial resistance


The three Organisations regularly exchange information on surveillance for the disease.

1st Global Conference on the prudent use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine
Organised by the OIE in close collaboration with FAO and WHO.

Each year, rabies kills more 70,000 people.
27 September 2013: World Rabies Day: Joint FAO/OIE/WHO call for elimination of the disease

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FAO-OIE-WHO Tripartite Concept Note (April 2010)















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