OneAquaHealth

OneAquaHealth is a Research and Innovation Action funded by the EU under Horizon Europe (GA No 101086521). Coordinated by the University of Coimbra, a consortium of 13 partners investigates the interconnection of ecosystem and human health and will identify early warning indicators to enhance environmental monitoring.

Aquatic urban ecosystems are extremely relevant connectors between people, animals and plants and provide a valuable resource to liaise health and environmental observations with a potential impact on prediction and prevention. In urbanized areas, aquatic ecosystems constitute ecological corridors between fragmented natural areas supporting a wide biodiversity and variety of ecosystem services, improving the sustainability of cities. Yet, these ecosystems are often degraded by lack of space, cuts of riparian vegetation, artificialization of the channels, impervious areas in the margins, water pollution, noise, excessive lights, among others. This degradation can lead to numerous disservices to human populations, and increase the probability of the emergence of pathogens, lower disease resistance of wildlife and humans, increasing the probability of disease severity and diseases associated with reduced physical activity and permanence in stressful environments found in cities.

 

In view of this, OneAquaHealth aims to demonstrate that the health of freshwater ecosystems and human health and wellbeing in urban contexts are highly interconnected as improving one results in the improvement of the other, reestablishing the balance between nature and humans. To this aim, OneAquaHealth will promote environmental monitoring of early warning indicators that can assess that balance. It will provide decision-makers with an AI-based Environmental Surveillance System able to support adequate and timely decisions and providing effective recovery measures of aquatic ecosystems health (and consequently human health) adequate for different scenarios, including climate changes. OneAquaHealth will involve all relevant stakeholders in the process raising their awareness to the importance of urban streams and rivers and supporting them with adequate digital tools to guarantee environmental monitoring beyond the project duration.

 

In summary, OneAquaHealth aims to achieve the following impacts:

  • BETTER INSIGHTS in how to foster the use of environmental observation in the large domain of One Health and the areas within this domain that could benefit the most from environmental and Earth observation.
  • AN INCREASE of the capacity to trace environmental parameter changes on how they impact on the emergence of diseases.
  • MONITORING of the evolution of ecosystem barriers and reinforcement of their sustainability, specifically in densely populated or intensively used areas.
  • CONTRIBUTING to understanding the emergence and tackling the spread of new infectious diseases affecting human, animal or plant health, and the interlinkages that may exist between them and building up of more resilient ecosystems.

 

BETTER INSIGHTS into the concept of alert and early warning systems, including, where possible, the next steps taken (e.g. exploitation/scaling up) in working with the outcomes of the EIC Horizon Prize on Early Warning for Epidemics.

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