WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the virtual press conference on One Health High Level Expert Panel
Your Excellency Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, Your Excellency Niels Annen, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Professor Wanda Markotter and Professor Thomas Mettenleiter, Mr Qu Dongyu, Ms Inger Andersen, Dr Monique Eloit, Good morning, good afternoon and good evening, First of all, I would like to thank the governments of France and Germany for their leadership and support in establishing the One Health High-Level Expert Panel. Its creation fulfils a commitment made at the Paris Peace Forum last November. I also want to give a special thanks to the co-chairs, Professor Markotter and Professor Mettenleiter, and the other panelists for lending us their time and expertise. The COVID-19 pandemic is a powerful demonstration that human health does not exist in a vacuum, and nor can our efforts to protect and promote it. The close links between human, animal and environmental health demand close collaboration, communication and coordination between the relevant sectors. One Health is not a new concept, but the High-Level Expert Panel is a much-needed initiative to take it to the next level. The High-Level Expert Panel will advise us on how to bridge the gaps between sectors, connecting veterinary and human medicine and environmental issues, and to address the challenge of implementation at both the global and country level. The work of the panel will help us advocate for bold policy measures and investments to reduce the risk of future pandemics and to change harmful practices that threaten us now and in future generations. The four organizations that will participate in the Joint Secretariat bring world-class expertise in their respective areas. We believe that by working together more closely in this way, we will be much more than the sum of our parts. One of the many lessons of the pandemic is that we can only confront shared threats with shared solutions. Thank you once again to France and Germany for your support, and to my colleagues at FAO, OIE and UNEP. Now let’s get to work. I thank you.