SLU news

One Health at the forefront of the global policy agenda

Published: 08 April 2024

One Health is closely linked to several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations for 2030. During the annual forum of the Association for European Life Science Universities (ICA) in October 2023, the leadership of ICA addressed the challenges for academia to contribute effectively to achieving healthy people and healthy animals in a healthy shared environment. As a result, SLU's Vice-Chancellor Maria Knutson Wedel, in her capacity as President of ICA, recently signed a communiqué with academia's commitment to One Health.

The communiqué 

Maria Knutson Wedel, on behalf of ICA's members pledge to political leaders, societal influencers, businesses, and the general public that:

  • We will share our understanding of the components of One Health, their interrelationships inc. those with climate and biodiversity, their trends and dynamics and their functional significance for the sustainability of the global and local societies;
  • We will combine fundamental research on One Health with a quest for nature-based solutions, contributing to health of people and animals, to the conservation, restoration and enhancement of biodiversity along with climate neutrality and sustainable food production in a circular bioeconomy;
  • We will offer to our students – the professionals and decision makers of the future – interdisciplinary education so that they can internalise available understanding of the need, means and paths for society to achieve One Health, to stabilise the climate and restore biodiversity in terrestrial and marine ecosystems;
  • We will continue to protect and enhance the environmental health and biodiversity of our own life science university grounds, campuses and other estates, for them to become enlightening examples and teaching tools for One Health, climate neutrality, biodiversity and nature-based solutions;
  • We will continue and enhance active collaboration with WHO, WAHO, FAO, UNEP, IPBES, IPPC, EC and with economic and societal sectors and actors in our regions across Europe. We will engage with the marine, agrifood, forestry, and biobased industries, to stimulate and implement concrete behavioural and institutional changes to effectively advance the transition to healthy, biodiverse and climate neutral societies.

The communiqué was signed by Maria Knutsson Wedel in February 2024.

Download a copy of the Communiqué


The Association for European Life Science Universities (ICA) has a membership of more than 50 European universities or faculties from more than 29 European countries, whose main interests are in the areas of primary production (crop and animal husbandry, forestry), food production and consumption, food safety and security, the bio-based sector, natural resources, climate change, biodiversity and the environment, rural development and, increasingly, human health. ICA and its members aim to jointly play an essential role in transitioning to a European and global sustainable bioeconomy and society.

Why focus on One Health?

The One Health approach focuses on the interface between animal health, human health and ecosystem health. A collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach, cutting across these boundaries is needed to understand complex health challenges; for example, the spread of disease and antimicrobial resistance, how human health can benefit from exposure to animals, green environments and nature, and common lifestyle diseases in animals and humans.