Main goals of this 3-year action is
Countering environmental threats, endemic in Central Asia, is still of key importance. Therefore, capacity building in environmental health expertise is warranted. A teach the teacher, interdisciplinary approach is proposed. The HARMONEE consortium will consist of nine Central Asian Higher Education Institutes (CA HEIs) in four different countries and two European Universities. Global trends, such as climate change, population growth, urbanisation, deforestation, increased demand for food, and the strong increase in international trade and travel pose grand challenges to society as a whole, including serious risks to human, animal, and ecosystem health.
Adequately meeting these global challenges should involve the development and implementation of durable interventions that emanate from an integrated and balanced perspective in which human, veterinary, wildlife, and environmental elements and considerations are integrated. In other words, optimal global health should be obtained by using a holistic approach.
This is strongly endorsed by the Sustainable Development Goals which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth.
An integrative approach involves interdisciplinary research and education by collaborations between several scientific disciplines and societal domains, to monitor, study, evaluate, model and control Public Health threats.
This approach is defined as the integrative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals, and the environment, taking into account environmental, social, ecological and economical aspects. Global health involves several domains of relevance, such as One Health and environmental health, including toxicology and occupational health. The One Health concept recognizes that health of people is connected to animals and the environment and vice versa. From a more classical point of view, the main focus of One Health is on transmission of infectious diseases on the interface of humans, animals and the environment.
Environmental health addresses all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person. It encompasses the assessment and control of those environmental factors that can potentially affect health, which includes housing, working environment, urban development, land use and transport. It is targeted towards preventing disease and creating health-supportive environments to contribute positively to Public Health. For clarity, throughout the rest of the proposal we will use the overall term Public Health to refer to the above addressed issues To effectively apply an integrative approach, it is necessary to foster interdisciplinary research and education in which regional issues can require a specific focus of interest within this large framework.