One Region, One Health: Limiting threats to food and health security

The Crawford Fund is pleased to again be involved in promoting the important issues and action needed around health, biosecurity and agriculture and especially the interactions between them.

Approximately 75% of newly emerging infectious diseases are those that can transmit between animals and humans. COVID-19 is a wake-up call to further increase efforts to break down the silos of agriculture, health and the environment to better focus on the overlap, particularly where we risk future pandemics.

Our chair, the Hon John Anderson AO, will be one of three panellists speaking at a free live online Australian Institute of International Affairs event: “One Region, One Health: Limiting threats to food and health security” to be held on 17 September at 6pm. You can register from the AIIA site.

As we emerge from the coronavirus, many countries will need and welcome Australian scientific and policy support in health, biosecurity and agriculture, and especially the interactions between them.

The Fund has argued that Australia has much to offer globally in terms of our pioneering and adaptive management approaches to farming in hostile climates. In an opinion piece in the Australian Financial Review and media statements earlier this year, John explained this should be one way in which we can play a leading role as a global citizen, while at the same time continuing to reap benefits from the investment in overseas development aid at home, in the form of improved health, agricultural productivity and environmental outcomes. The opinion piece is available here, and the related press release here.

The panel will:

  • consider the strong links between human and animal health;
  • the importance of addressing the significant economic, social, scientific and ethical issues this interconnect brings for our decision makers and scientists;
  • the need for co-ordinated international action and Australian leadership on regional food and health security, and
  • the potential of a ‘One Health’ approach for improving policy and programming for both health and food security into the future.

The free online event will be moderated by AIIA National Executive Director Bryce Wakefield.

In addition to John Anderson, other panel speakers at the AIIA event are:

Dr Stephanie Williams, Australia’s Ambassador for Regional Health Security. As Ambassador, she supports the advancement of Australia’s interests in the Indo-Pacific by fostering linkages between Australia’s world-class public health and medical research experts and partners in the region. In addition, she guides the implementation of the $300 million Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific region.

Dr Anna Okello, the Research Programme Manager of Livestock Systems at the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, and a commissioner on the Lancet One Health Commission which considers how contemporary global health challenges are implicated within the complex interconnectedness of humans, animals, and our shared environment.