One Health and Water

The One Health concept is a collaborative, transdisciplinary approach recognizing that the health of humans, the environment, and animals are closely interconnected and interdependent. Water and water quality are central to this connectivity.

Emerging One Health issues include:

  • Coronavirus & other zoonotic diseases
  • Environmental pollution
  • The spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
  • Waste management
  • Food safety & security
  • Water safety & security

Scotland has internationally significant and high-quality water resources, which are of vital importance to its society and the economy. The Scottish Government has stated that:

Scotland’s water environment is one of our greatest natural assets, supporting our health, wellbeing, wildlife and the sustainable growth of our economy.”

This is recognised through the Scottish Government’s ‘Hydro Nation’ agenda, which has created Scotland into the world’s first Hydro Nation. A Hydro Nation is a country which sustainably manages its water resources to the best advantage, and applies its knowledge and expertise domestically and internationally. This includes the governance and responsible management of water resources, the performance of our water industry, the role of our water research community in developing international research programmes on key issues; and our approach to develop the value of all of our water resources for the economy.

As a Hydro Nation, Scotland is seeking to maximise the economic, social, and environmental benefits of its water resources through sustainable economic development, research and innovation, and good stewardship practices. Scotland is also driving the Hydro Nation agenda internationally and contributing to ongoing research and work to help improve people’s lives around the world. And in so doing, clearly promoting the One Health approach within Scotland and globally.

Additionally, Scotland has adopted the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, of which several clearly align with the One Health concept, including good health and wellbeing, clean water and sanitation, climate action, and life above land and below water. By committing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Scotland is demonstrating it’s ability to actively drive and contribute to the international agenda. A review published in 2020 can be found here, which details evidence, actions, and stories of Scotland’s progress is meeting the UN goals.

The OHBP is the first cross-sector and multi-agency collaboration between the public sector, private sector and industry agencies, and academia that is seeking to stimulate innovation and knowledge exchange at the One Health-Water interface (click here for more information). Public sector and other organisations invested in sustainability in Scotland are committed to working together to share knowledge and develop innovative approaches to meet climate, environment, and energy goals. Ongoing work is actively shaping Scotland into a greener, healthier, and climate-ready country, and it is evident that the role of the water environment is critical to the successes. This underlines the principle of One Health, and highlights the importance of the One Health strategy and water resources to the prosperity of Scotland.