The world health body you’ve never heard of – but should have

Posted on Wed, 18 May 2016, 11:34

This is a synopsis of a full article on Theconversation.com that can be seen at https://theconversation.com/the-world-health-body-youve-never-heard-of-but-should-have-59114 and is written by Eric Boa.


In a world where physical goods and living things are moved around with increasing frequency to more places, the opportunities for diseases and pests to spread are multiplying all the time. The consequences of new incursions can be catastrophic, hence the need for a trio of organizations that oversee health matters at a global level. The World Health Organization (WHO) is the best known of the triumvirate, most recently for the wrong reasons, because of fatal failures in responding to Ebola virus in West Africa. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) is probably less familiar to many, though their importance has risen greatly over the last few decades because of the dramatic rise in the importance of zoonoses – diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans.

So what about plants? The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is the notional global body responsible for plant health. But its strapline of “protecting the word’s plant resources from pests” doesn’t exactly fire the imagination and create a vision of tackling fundamental threats to all living things. This is in essence what the IPPC is there to do, however – without plants there would be no people or animals.

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