One Health: the Italian partnership for an integrated approach to health

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People, ecosystems and animals: all are closely interconnected and health is a topical and crucial part of this complex link. Advanced and multidisciplinary research leads to joint activities for a better understanding of the interactions between climate change, health and sustainability in the context of livestock farming. “Sustainability, Circular Economy and One Health”, a Framework Collaboration Agreement, has been signed between CMCC Foundation – Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change and Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Lazio e della Toscana ‘M. Aleandri’.

It is now widely acknowledged that human and animal welfare are closely linked to the environment and climate change. The loss of biodiversity and the degradation of natural ecosystems pose a threat to health and quality of life, increasingly calling for a multi-sectoral and inclusive approach to address the health challenges of today and tomorrow. The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on livestock and agri-food systems, highlighting the key role of sustainable management of health, the environment and public safety, in the broadest possible perspective of ‘One Health’ and circularity.

In this context, the CMCC Foundation (Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change) and the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Lazio e della Toscana “M. Aleandri” (IZSLT) have stipulated the Collaboration Framework Agreement ‘Sustainability, Circular Economy and One Health’, which promotes and endorses research, its applications and the dissemination of results.

The Agreement formalizes the collaboration between the two institutes to carry out scientific activities, training courses, exchange of expertise and promotion and implementation of other initiatives linked to thematic areas of common interest, which include in particular:

– health and sustainability of livestock farming, the circular economy in livestock production and the feedback between climate change and livestock farming, production and animal welfare;

– influence of weather and climate variables on the spread of certain infectious and/or parasitic diseases affecting animals, with particular attention to those transmitted by vectors.

“It is now clear that climate change plays a crucial role on terrestrial ecosystems and their components,” says Dr. Monia Santini, scientific officer at the CMCC Foundation for the activities that will be carried out under the Agreement. “The ‘One Health’ concept starts from the recognition that the health of ecosystems, animals and humans are closely connected through complex links that are still difficult to understand in their entirety, as also suggested by some preliminary studies on the outbreak of the current pandemic. Moreover, these interactions are not constant but can evolve in a rapidly changing environmental context, with increasingly pronounced climate variability and extreme events.” Ms Santini is Director of the Viterbo hub of the CMCC Division on Impacts on Agriculture, Forests and Ecosystem Services. “Thanks to this Agreement, the significant amount of data that the CMCC Foundation delivers, through international projects and initiatives, on climate change and its impacts on resources such as vegetation, soil and water, as well as the cutting-edge tools adopted in data analysis, can enhance and accelerate knowledge on the interactions underlying the ‘One Health’ paradigm.”

“The agreement signed between IZSLT and the CMCC – states Dr. Ugo Della Marta, general manager of IZSLT– emerges from the mutual objectives: we have close fields of activity when climate change affects animal health and food production. This agreement marks the renewal of a partnership that began in 2013, since then we have carried out research projects within specific programs and launched specific training together. The common themes established in this renewed agreement have an impact on sustainability and environmental issues, on the ethical enhancement of the human-animal relationship, the health and sustainability of livestock farms, and the circular economy in livestock production. Our institute brings the veterinary contribution, coordinated on our behalf by Dr. Sezzi, in this multidisciplinary group that synergically makes use of agronomic, zootechnical, biological, chemical, pharmacological and ecological skills. We will work together to develop new methods for the prevention and protection of health, which is an essential part of  human, animal and environmental health. More specifically, we will work to define new intervention measures that ensure a balance between climate change, livestock production and animal welfare.”


* Framework Collaboration Agreement “Sustainability, Circular Economy and One Health”


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