The political economy of One Health research and policy

Working Paper
  • Published 02/03/15
  • ISBN: 978-1-78118-221-5

STEPS Working Paper 81

‘One Health’ has emerged over the last decade as a key concept guiding international research and policy in the field of emerging infectious diseases such as zoonoses. This paper explores the emergence of One Health and examines the political, economic and knowledge processes shaping who is doing what, where and why. It begins with a brief overview of the emergence of the concept, and an analysis of the different definitions in play and their discursive construction and consequences. The authors combine quantitative network analysis and interviews with key players in international global public health and veterinary debates and show significant disconnects between the inclusive rhetoric of global policy and scientific practices, highlighting tensions in patterns of global collaboration and their politics.

The paper also explores diverse perspectives on the utility of the One Health approach, asking why, given the emerging consensus around it, the approach is gaining relatively little policy and institutional traction. Reasons include power-laden professional hierarchies, institutional lock-in around single-sector approaches, the influence of funding flows and convenient articulations with securitisation agendas in global health.