It’s time for action. Let’s make One Health the steppingstone to sustainable food! – Day 4 highlights

Open minds, open data and open collaboration. We know where we want to go and why – sustainability for food, health and the environment – now it’s time for action on the path to take and the speed by which to travel. Policymakers, scientists and society, together.

EFSA’s Bernhard Url issued a rallying cry to integrate more in an actionable and collaborative way before future challenges overtake us. He underlined the expressions of cooperation, trust and commitment to future One Health collaboration witnessed during the four-day One Conference. Closing the conference on behalf of the French Presidency of the EU, Philippe Bodenez from the French Ministry of Environment stated: “the French Presidency sought to give substance to the One Health approach during this EU Presidency by engaging with agencies and researchers”. He was accompanied by Charles Martins-Ferreira from the French Ministry of Agriculture who said: “We must prepare ourselves to deal with new crises at the interface between animal and human health. This needs to be in a systemic way, with EU agencies and national institutions, and the Commission’s future legislative framework for sustainable food systems will be welcome.”

Participants at the One Conference tell us about their experience, their favourite aspects and topics.

Big open data and transdisciplinary collaboration were the common themes throughout the four conference tracks, reported back on Day 4’s opening session. Food security, food safety and food sustainability are entwined, need addressing together, and require the involvement of citizens, stakeholders and a broad coalition of the sciences: life sciences, social sciences and humanities. Food sustainability will involve trade-offs such as a shift to more plant-based diets, reducing food waste, and defragmenting the institutional and legal context of the agencies. Session Chair, Pamela Byrne of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, closed by saying: “Break the silos, be collaborative, recognise what we know and don’t know. Be open with your data and be open in your mind to new ways of doing things. It’s not business as usual; it’s time to take action.”

EFSA trainees call for action on One Health.

In session two, FAO Chief Scientist Ismahane Elouafi underlined: “We need a better nutrition for all. There’s a window of opportunity, the revolution of technology and science can help produce more, more smartly, with less.” EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx stated: “Food systems run throughout the crises affecting the earth systems: climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. We need more urgency to address them.” The first conference jointly organised by the EU’s five health and environment agencies―ECDC, ECHA, EEA, EMA and EFSA―together with the European Commission’s JRC, is over. On behalf of all six of us, many thanks to all of you who came in person and joined us online and for engaging with us in debate, deliberation and commitment to the future for sustainable food!

See more images from Day 4 here.