Early insights from the MOOD participation at the Geneva Health Forum side-workshop

MOOD partners were involved in the organization of the workshop ‘Time to rethink the science-policy interface for evidence-based governance? From Covid-19 lessons learned to strengthen our One Health strategy‘ at the Geneva Health Forum 2022 on May 3rd.

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic casts light on numerous challenges in the interactions between science, policy, and the public. Criticism has pointed to a lack of transparency in the pandemic response decision-making process, an unclear role for scientific actors involved and a need for better integration of environmental, animal and social dimensions of health (One Health, Planetary Health).

How to give shape to a credible science-policy interface (SPI) for future One Health crises management, and define the roles of key stakeholders involved? 

Interesting features may be found in existing science advice ecosystems, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). What practical problems could such forms solve and what challenges will be left unaddressed for the science-policy interface for future pandemics and One Health challenges?

This interactive meeting was moderated by Gian-Luca Burci (Global Health Centre, IHEID) and featured interventions by Martin Beniston (University of Geneva, Former Chair of the International Panel on Climate Change IPCC), Abdi Mahamud (Senior Emergency Health Officer, World Health
Emergencies Programme, World Health Organisation), Benjamin Roche (IRD, Prezode initiative), Alexandre Hobeika (Political scientist, CIRAD, MOOD project), and Erika Placella (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation).

The discussion proposed to:             

  1. Review mechanisms and related challenges on how scientific expertise has been produced and used to inform governmental and intergovernmental policy-making during the COVID 19 pandemic.
  2. Explore the needs and formats to strengthen the science-policy interface for preparedness and response to health crises arising from the animal-human-ecosystem interface, taking into consideration experience from environmental governance

Reports in the plenary highlighted the nuances and strategic considerations regarding setting up a formal science-policy mechanism for One Health. Overall, one half of the audience was in favour of replicating the IPCC model for One Health and the other half was against it. A workshop report will come up in the next few months.” reports the official Geneva Science-Policy Interface website.

Currently, the organizers are preparing the report and follow-ups will be announced via the Geneva Science-Policy Interface (GSPI) and the MOOD website. Stay tuned!

Panelist speaks at a round table.
Picture: © 2022 Geneva Science-Policy Interface
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About the Geneva Science-Policy Interface

Backed by leading research institutions in Switzerland and Europe, the Geneva Science-Policy Interface (GSPI) is an independent, neutral platform that strives to enhance scientific engagement with global governance actors within the Geneva ecosystem. By supporting collaborations between scientists, policy, and implementation actors, the GSPI contributes to facilitate the emergence of effective, evidence-informed policies and solutions to complex global problems.