Geneva Health Forum 2022

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Geneva Health Forum 2022

May 3, 2022 @ 14:00 16:00 CEST

Time to rethink the science-policy interface for evidence-based governance? From Covid-19 lessons learned to strengthen our One Health strategy

Background and aim

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?

The discussion proposes 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.

This workshop aims to facilitate a discussion on both national and intergovernmental levels, in the light of the upcoming pandemic treaty, the One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP), and the development of pandemic preparedness and response plans of national governments. 

The workshop’s organisers will work collaboratively to publish the result of the discussion, with participants invited to contribute substantial inputs. The workshop will gather scientists and policymakers from different regions of the world and areas of specialty.

Target Audience

  1. Scientists that were involved at national- and international level in the COVID-19 pandemic response. 
  1. Scientists that work in respective One Health and environmental health disciplines that may face informing future pandemic preparedness (e.g. OHHLEP panel members, IPCC panel members, IPBES panel members).
  1. Health and environmental policy-makers or international organisations that need or strive to rely on scientific evidence to make decisions.

Expected outcomes

  1. Best-practice experiences shared among participants on the use of scientific expertise to inform (inter)governmental policy-making during health crises.
  2. Lessons learned and points of action identified on how to shape and strengthen the science-policy interface for preparedness and response to health emergencies arising from the human-animal-ecosystem.
  3. Relations established within a diverse group of actors at the science-policy interface, to facilitate the creation of longer-term interactions for planned national and international initiatives (e.g. pandemic treaty, national-level pandemic preparedness and response plans, OHHLEP One Health initiative). 

Expected Outputs

The workshop’s organisers will work collaboratively to publish the result of the discussion, including recommendations and principles for taking the reflections forward. Participants to the workshop will be invited to contribute substantial inputs to the brief prior to its publication.


14:05Keynote addresses and panel discussion
Prof. Gian-Luca Burci, Adjunct professor International Law Academic Advisor,
Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies 

Dr Alexandre Hobeika, Political scientist, CIRAD, MOOD project
Dr Abdi Mahamud, Senior Emergency Health Officer, World Health
Emergencies Programme, World Health Organisation 
Prof. Martin Beniston, Honorary Professor, University of Geneva,
Former Chair of the International Panel on Climate Change
Prof. Wanda Markotter, Vice-Chair, One Health High-Level Panel of Experts
(OHHLEP); Professor, Centre for Viral Zoonoses, University of Pretoria, South Africa 
14:45Question and Answer with the audience:  
Is there a need for a science-policy interface organisation to support
the global One Health approach to pandemic prevention and response? 
Working group 1: SPI organisation for One Health approach to pandemic prevention
Working group 2: SPI organisation for One Health approach to crisis management
Working group 3: Build cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration
(5 minutes)

The Geneva Health Forum 2022

Since 2006, the Geneva Health Forum (GHF) brings together key actors to help find solutions to global health challenges. It is organized by the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) and the University of Geneva in partnership with 30 global multisectoral organizations, with the overall goal to contribute to improving health and care access in the world. At the heart of International Geneva, the Geneva Health Forum provides a continuous platform for collaboration and organizes one of the largest Global Health conferences every two years.


3-5 May 2022


Centre Internationale de Conference, Geneva (Switzerland) & online

Thematic 2022

Covid-19 Pandemic and Environmental Emergency: Reinventing Global Health in times of Global Changes

Esther van Kleef (ITM)