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International FAO-OIE-WHO collaboration

Coordinating the many players involved in human, animal and environmental health is vital to meet the health challenges of tomorrow. In this context, three major international organisations, WHO, the OIE and FAO, are working together to prevent and control health risks at the human–animal–ecosystems interface. They are developing global strategies and tools to ensure a consistent, harmonised approach throughout the world, and to better coordinate human, veterinary and environmental health policies at the national and international levels.

FAO-OIE-WHO: a worldwide cross-sectoral strategy for “One Health”

These three organisations have worked together for many years to prevent, detect, control and eliminate health threats to humans, originating – directly or indirectly – from animals.

Putting the “One Health”» vision into practice has been facilitated by a formal alliance between the three organisations. In this context, the FAO, OIE and WHO acknowledge their respective responsibilities in combating diseases which have a severe impact on health and the economy, particularly zoonoses.

The basis of the FAO-OIE-WHO Tripartite Alliance

In 2010, the three Organisations published a Tripartite Concept Note, describing their collaboration and objectives in the prevention and control of health risks at the human–animal–ecosystems interface.

By working together in this way, they can create synergy in their expertise and communications activities on issues of common interest, in order to mobilise their public and private partners, Member Country governments and public opinion.

They meet regularly and their principal activities are aimed at early detection of the emergence of animal and human diseases, so that these can be met with a swift and targeted response to control disease outbreaks and prevent their spread worldwide

Such actions include, for example:

  • developing their capacities for surveillance and rapid response, through the epidemiological data gathered by their respective health surveillance and early warning systems;
  • ensuring consistency across the standard-setting activities of the three organisations (the intergovernmental standards of the OIE, the International Health Regulations [IHR] of the WHO and the international food standards of the Codex Alimentarius);
  • evaluation of and taking measures to manage disease risks;
  • building capacity for the health authorities of their Member Countries.


>>> The 3 priorities of the Tripartite Alliance <<<

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Animal influenza

Antimicrobial resistance



Enlarging the Tripartite commitment to face health challenges of the future

In October 2017, the OIE, the FAO and the WHO released their second Tripartite strategic document reaffirming their commitment to provide multi-sectoral, collaborative leadership in addressing health challenges. The scope of their collaboration will be enlarged to more broadly embrace the “One Health” approach recognising that human health, animal health and the environment are interconnected.

The document presents the way forward that the three organisations will follow. While maintaining the momentum achieved for antimicrobial resistance, rabies and zoonotic influenza, the partners decided to enlarge their collaboration with a particular focus on:

  • the reinforcement of national services in human health, animal health and food safety;
  • the strengthening and modernization of early warning and surveillance/monitoring systems;
  • the foresight, preparedness and response to emerging, re-emerging and neglected infectious diseases;
  • the encouragement and the promotion of coordinated research and development to achieve a common understanding of the highest priority zoonotic diseases;
  • the challenge that represents food safety requiring a multi-sector approach in the context of reinforcing food security.

Memorandum of Understanding signed by FAO, OIE and WHO to strengthen their long-standing partnership

On 31 May 2018, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreeing to step up joint action to combat health threats associated with interactions between humans, animals and the environment.

This MOU supports the 2010 Tripartite Concept Note describing the collaborative strategy amongst the three organisations as well as the strategic document published in 2017.

Bringing together knowledge, insights and technical capacities in human and animal health and food and agriculture can generate strong synergies, for more robust, effective and cost-efficient solutions to the complex health problems facing the world today.

Joint activities under the MOU will include:

  • Supporting the Interagency Coordination Group on AMR established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2016, as well as the continuing implementation of the Global Action Plan on AMR
  • Engaging with countries to reinforce national and regional human health, animal health and food safety services
  • Improving inter-agency collaboration in foresight analysis, risk assessment, preparedness building and joint responses to emerging, remerging and neglected infectious diseases at the animal-human-ecosystems interface
  • Addressing food safety challenges requiring a multi-sector approach in the context of reinforcing food security.
  • Promoting coordinated research and development to achieve a common understanding of the highest priority zoonotic diseases and the research and development needed to prevent, detect, and control them
  • Developing a Voluntary Code of Conduct to reinforce implementation of international standards on responsible and prudent use of antimicrobials