G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting, communique, Oxford, [Published] 4 June, 2021
G7 Statements & Communiques [strong endorsement for applying One Health approach - see below]
“ ... 5. We commit to continue to support science-based responses to COVID-19, and to promote high quality, interdisciplinary research and development that is not limited to medical countermeasures. Our renewed efforts to improve pandemic preparedness need to anticipate that a future health threat may differ in its origins, patterns, nature and impact from this pandemic and previous health threats. Our reflections, learnings and solutions must take an intersectoral, whole of society approach, planning for the unexpected future while taking into account the known past. Our efforts to improve preparedness need to take into account the growing pandemic of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) with clear leadership, bold science-based actions and a One Health approach.
- We strongly support the One Health approach, recognising that human, animal, plant and environmental health are interlinked. We welcome efforts by WHO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to cooperate and make the One Health approach central to their work. We welcome the establishment of the One Health High Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP) by WHO, FAO, OIE and UNEP and encourage further close coordination and collaboration including full integration of environmental and ecosystem work. This is crucial in order to improve the international system’s ability to prevent, detect, report and respond to current and future health threats, including by promoting transparency and facilitating the rapid sharing of data, samples and information, both internationally and across sectors. As health ministers, we will continue to work with environment, agriculture and other relevant ministers recognising the links between the health of humans and animals (both domestic and wildlife), biodiversity conservation, ecosystems and climate change, and the need to protect human health including through food and water safety and security, as well as from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination. Looking ahead to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties and the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, we acknowledge the important relationship between health, the environment and climate change, including the role the health sector plays in building health system resilience and contributing to sustainability.
- We emphasise the need for more immediate action to strengthen capacities for preventative measures at the human-animal interface, as well as surveillance of potential disease outbreaks, and in particular zoonotic diseases in humans and animals (including from wildlife, domestic and livestock and aquatic animal species) and antimicrobial resistance. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp relief the need to understand the complexity of the drivers of human health emergencies; to strengthen our horizon scanning for new health threats; and to ensure we quickly have more complete, clearer and better integrated information on which to act, bearing in mind the understanding that the health of humans, animals, plants and their shared environment are inextricably linked. We commend the contribution that relevant organisations, especially WHO, OIE, FAO and UNEP and other existing agencies and networks have made to improve our understanding and response to the current pandemic and future health threats. But we need to do better. This means making the One Health approach, which also incorporates climate change, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, central to our thinking on health security and future resilience including by supporting global and local cross-sectoral actors in geographic settings vulnerable to the emergence and spread of pandemic threats. We need to make better use of advances in our ability to collect, analyse, use and share human, animal, plant and environment health data and enable faster collaboration in order to anticipate, assess the risk of and respond to health security threats. This interconnectedness needs to capture formal and informal information, data and sample sharing, including accessing multisectoral surveillance from human, animal, plant, food, climatic and aquatic health chains.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified awareness and discussion of the importance of One Health approaches. Mainstreaming One Health approaches will require stronger leadership. We believe that the Tripartite Plus organisations (WHO, FAO, OIE and UNEP) should be at the heart of this work, including through strengthening and further integrating surveillance and analysis to gather intelligence from human health, animal health, food and agriculture and environment ecosystems and to investigate the links between human, animal and environmental health. We welcome and encourage this work. We recognise the need to ensure complementarity and to avoid duplication across the global health security architecture. We appreciate initiatives such as the OHHLEP, PREZODE and the establishment of the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence. We also welcome WHO’s commitment to work with expert partners and countries to develop an advanced International Pathogen Surveillance Network. We strongly encourage the Tripartite Plus to conduct a comprehensive One Health intelligence scoping study to identify potential opportunities for further technical harmonisation of their systems. This collaboration on One Health intelligence will inform how the Tripartite Plus One Health intelligence mechanisms can contribute to the other emerging initiatives. We request that the Tripartite Plus report on progress with this important work to the G7 and OHHLEP before the end of the year and consider how this can best be shared with the Tripartite Plus governing bodies.
- We support the commitment made by climate and environment ministers to establish the International Zoonoses Community of Experts on a voluntary basis. We commit to working more closely together with our climate and environment ministers on the One Health agenda, proactively sharing information, samples and data. We will continue to work towards ensuring the resilience of our health surveillance systems through sharing best practices, building capacity and improving technology domestically and internationally, particularly with our development partners.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into stark focus the impact a novel and initially untreatable infectious disease can have on humanity to maintain and extend the efficacy of existing and emerging antimicrobials in treating infectious diseases. We reiterate the need for ongoing education and reinforced stewardship of the use of antimicrobials, including avoiding their use where there is no science-based evidence of effectiveness. The pandemic also highlighted the importance of infection prevention and control (IPC) measures to tackle AMR, targeting both healthcare-associated and community-associated infections. We will seek to build on the advances and investments made in these, broader IPC measures and other measures such as supply-chain strengthening that have been integral to the COVID-19 response, but we must act strongly and across disciplines if we are to curb the silent pandemic of antimicrobial resistance. We recognise the importance of the research and development in new and innovative antimicrobials as well as alternatives to antimicrobials; vaccines, diagnostics and other countermeasures; and the need to take bolder steps to mitigate, minimise and contain the risk of AMR as part of our plans to Build Back Better, taking a One Health approach.
- Alongside climate and environment ministers, we recognise that the release of antimicrobials into the environment can select for antimicrobial resistance and have an impact on human, animal and environmental health. We also note that heavy metals and biocides potentially have an impact on AMR and human, animal and environmental health. We underline the importance of a One Health approach in tackling AMR and call on all governments to promptly implement measures for the sound management and reduction of inappropriate use of antimicrobials. In this context, we note the potential role that soil microorganisms may play in the fight against AMR. We call on the UNEP, in collaboration with the Tripartite organisations, to strengthen the evidence base on the contamination, mechanisms, causes and impacts of AMR emerging and spreading in the environment as mandated at the United Nations Environment Assembly 3. We commit to work in close collaboration with governments and relevant parties such as medicines regulators where independent of government, and agriculture, academia, industry, the Tripartite on AMR and UNEP to develop and implement long-term, sustainable solutions to this issue. We note with concern that there are currently no international standards on safe concentrations of antimicrobials released into the environment from, among other things, pharmaceutical manufacturing, healthcare facility effluent, agriculture and aquaculture. We also acknowledge the work of the AMR Industry Alliance in this regard. We commit to accumulate knowledge on antimicrobial resistance in the environment. ...”