One Health for the Real World: zoonoses, ecosystems and wellbeing

This symposium brought together leading experts from different fields to discuss the topic 'Healthy ecosystems, healthy people'.

Ecosystems provide services that maintain and improve human wellbeing, such as food provisioning and disease regulation however, they can also generate ‘disservices’, such as reservoirs for new, ‘emerging’ infectious disease from wildlife.

Health is a critical aspect of human wellbeing, interacting with material and social relations to contribute to people’s freedoms and choices, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where clusters of health and disease problems disproportionately affect poor people and contribute further to their poverty.

Healthy ecosystems and healthy people go together, yet the precise relationships between these remain poorly understood.

Understanding the interactions between ecosystem change, disease regulation and human wellbeing is an interdisciplinary challenge which the scientific community is only beginning to address. In policy terms, One Health and Ecohealth are converging approaches resting on the shared principle that the health of humans, animals and ecosystems are interdependent.

There is, however, little integration in understanding the relationships between these sectors. Too often research is divided between those who focus on environmental change and ecosystem services; those who address socio-economic, poverty and wellbeing issues; and those who consider health and disease. This leads to fragmented understandings and inadequate responses.

This symposium brought together leading experts from different fields to:

  • Present new interdisciplinary frameworks for a real-world One Health approach.
  • Highlight evidence from field-based settings in Africa and beyond.
  • Debate implications for policy and practice.

Download programme and abstracts: PDF icon Programme and abstracts_One Health for the Real World 17-18 March (1.23 MB)

Panel sessions:

  • Integrating modelling for understanding zoonses impacts
  • One Health dimensions
  • Ecosystem change and zoonoses dynamics
  • Human behaviour and social difference
  • Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium case studies
  • Engaging research with policy and action

Speakers and chairs included:

Professor Pete Atkinson, Lancaster University
Dr Katinka de Balogh, Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO)
Dr Kevin Bardosh, University of Edinburgh
Dr Bernard Bett, International Livestock Research Institute
Professor Bassirou Bonfoh, Director General, Swiss Centre for Scientific Research (CSRS), Côte d’Ivoire
Professor Sarah Cleaveland, University of Glasgow
Professor Andrew Cunningham, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London
Dr Peter Daszak, President, EcoHealth Alliance
Professor Vupenyu Dzingirai, University of Zimbabwe
Dr Jonathan Epstein, EcoHealth Alliance
Professor Jeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome Trust
Professor Neil Ferguson, Imperial College London
Professor Victor Galaz, Stockholm Resilience Centre
Dr Delia Grace, International Livestock Research Institute
Professor David Heymann, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Professor Kate Jones, University College London
Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Conservation Through Public Health
Dr Ann Kelly, University of Exeter/Kings College London
Professor Melissa Leach, Director, Institute of Development Studies
Dr Gianni Lo Iacono, Public Health England
Dr Hayley MacGregor, Institute of Development Studies
Dr Lina Moses, Director, Tulane University Lassa Fever Program
Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu, University of Ghana
Dr Steve Osofsky, Wildlife Conservation Society
Dr David Pigott, University of Oxford
Dr David Redding, UCL
Professor Ian Scoones, Institute of Development Studies
Professor Jo Sharp, University of Glasgow
Dr Jan Slingenbergh, Independent One Health policy advisor
Dr Linda Waldman, Institute of Development Studies
Professor David Waltner-Toews, Veterinarians without Borders-Canada
Professor Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Advisor, Department for International Development
Professor James Wood, University of Cambridge
Professor Jakob Zinsstag, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute

Symposium organisers

The One Health for the Real World symposium is being organised by the Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium in partnership with the Royal Society. The Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium is a multidisciplinary research programme designed to deliver much-needed, cutting-edge science on the relationships between ecosystems, zoonoses, health and wellbeing, with the objective of moving people out of poverty and promoting social justice. It is funded by Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation.

Members of the organising committee include Professor Andrew Cunningham (Institute of Zoology), Professor James Wood (University of Cambridge), Professor Melissa Leach (Institute of Development Studies) and Professor Ian Scoones (Institute of Development Studies).

Organised with support from the Royal Society


Symposium location

Huxley Lecture Theatre, Main Meeting Rooms, Zoological Society of London, ZSL London Zoo, Outer Circle, Regents Park, NW1 4RY

ZSL venue map


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