The increasing threat from emerging infectious diseases has led to the creation of a United Nations task force responsible for devising an integrated approach for managing the health of ecosystems, wildlife, livestock, and people within a one-health framework.
The Scientific Task Force on Wildlife Diseases was formed this June during a meeting in Beijing attended by UN agencies, professional associations, research organizations, and several government representatives, including representatives from the United States.
The multinational task force will identify diseases that affect domestic and migratory wildlife that have major implications for food security, sustainable livelihoods, and conservation. In addition, the group will identify ways of bridging the gaps between wildlife managers and health practitioners.
By adopting a one-health approach, the task force will promote information sharing among government sectors, wildlife managers, nongovernmental organizations, and relevant United Nations agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization, and UN Environment Programme's Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals.
The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals works for the conservation of a wide array of endangered migratory animals worldwide through the negotiation and implementation of agreements and action plans. At present, 116 countries are parties to the convention.
Modeled after the Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds, which was established in 2005 and served as a world resource of recommendations on how to cope with avian influenza, this newest UN body will present a report at the next CMS conference this November in Norway.