The International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) are legally binding upon each State Party's government as a whole, rather than upon a single ministry, agency, office or sector. A multisectoral approach is central to the IHR, which aim for collaboration among all relevant national sectors to detect, assess and respond to a variety of potential public health emergencies of international concern (PHEIC). These include infections transmitted via goods, food, water or animals as well as chemical, radionuclear and environmental events.
This all-hazard approach means that sectors involved in country-level IHR implementation include those responsible for:
- public health
- food safety
- veterinary medicine
- emergency management
- international borders, ports, airports and ground crossings
- economy and trade
- agriculture (including animal health)
- radionuclear safety and chemical safety
Information sharing arrangements and collaboration between sectors, both on a routine basis and during emergencies, are essential; they allow the IHR to meet the goal of preventing, protecting against, controlling and responding to the international spread of disease while avoiding unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.
A One Health approach is based on the recognized link between human health and the health of animals and the environment. WHO works in close collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to promote cross-sectoral cooperation in reducing and addressing risks posed by zoonoses and other existing and emerging threats to public health at the human–animal–ecosystems interface.