On 22 May 2018, the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), in partnership with the University of Global Health Equity (Rwanda), organized an event under the title: “One Health, One Planet. Environment and Health in the Human Security Agenda”.
The panel was moderated by Mr Bruno Jochum, former director of Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) and an Executive-in-Residence within the GCSP. The panelists included Dr Stephane de la Rocque, Head of the One Health Team in the Health Emergency program of WHO, Dr Desiree Montecillo-Narvaez, Programme Officer in UN Environment Programme (UNEP) as well as Dr Agnes Binaghwaho, Vice Chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity, former Minister of Health of Rwanda.
Dr de la Rocque through several examples emphasized the challenges of this topic for the future. He underlined the importance of working together, setting up partnerships and especially the need to reach out with the right message. Dr de la Rocque highlighted the relevance of thinking out of the box when addressing one health challenges. Indeed, we should not back away from the complexity of the topic and rather embrace it.
Dr Desiree Montecillo-Narvaez explained the link between health and environment. According to her, it is crucial to have a preventive approach since a lot of deaths caused by environmental degradation can be prevented. Simultaneously, a dialogue among public and private actors needs to be developed to raise awareness of a shared responsibility. Regulation and innovation in this field will be crucial elements in the future.
This event ended with the presentation of Dr Agnes Binagwaho who stressed the importance of education in general and on one health challenges in particular. It is a long-haul endeavor since the challenges on the health – environment nexus are going to be increasingly important in the coming decades. When asked about addressing complex problems Dr Binagwaho insisted that the complexity needs to be unpacked. Policy makers should not get overwhelmed by complexity but find ways to simplify and focus on smaller and actionable solutions.
The panel brought to light the key elements to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment and thus foster sustainable development for future generations. The speakers concluded that trust, respect and strict regulations should be the priority.