First meeting of the One Health High-Level Expert Panel (17-18 May 2021)


The One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP) met for the first time on 17 and 18 May. A press conference, organized by WHO on Thursday, 20 May at 09:00, in the presence of Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, presented this new body responsible for prevention of diseases of animal origin.

The One Health High-Level Expert Panel was proposed by France, with Germany’s support, and was officially announced by the French and German Foreign Ministers and the leadership of the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at the Paris Peace Forum on 12 November 2020.

The OHHLEP is made up of 26 independent experts selected by the four international organizations. In addition to their scientific credentials, the experts were chosen to represent the different disciplines involved in the One Health approach and ensure diverse geographical origins, as well as a gender balance.
A French expert is a member of the panel: the biologist and ecological scientist Serge Morand, research supervisor at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and a researcher at the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD).

It will be chaired by the German Thomas Mettenleiter, President of the Institute Council of the Friedrich Loeffler Institute, and the South African Wanda Markotter, Director of the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Viral Zoonoses.

The experts, who will meet at least three times each year and produce reports and recommendations, will be responsible for collating, analysing, disseminating and highlighting the available scientific information on the links between human, animal and environmental health, in order to help policy makers make useful decisions to prevent and respond to future public health crises and inform citizens of related issues.

The OHHLEP’s work can draw on that of the PREZODE project initiated by French research bodies (IRD, CIRAD, INRAE) with various international partners, announced by the French President at the One Planet Summit on 11 January 2021. PREZODE will implement the OHHLEP’s recommendations, combining research and operational activities to mitigate the risk of infectious diseases of animal origin emerging, through reduced pressure on biodiversity.

The OHHLEP was presented at 09:00 on Thursday, 20 May 2020, at a press conference organized by WHO, in the presence of the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

Read the joint press release by WHO, FAO, OIE and UNEP