Protecting urban aquatic ecosystems to promote One Health

Period: 2023-2026

Funding institution: European Commission – Horizon Europe


Short description: 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, re-establishing 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 a 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.

WISE role: FULL PARTNER – Wise Angle leads the Work Package dedicated to exploitation, sustainability of project’s results and liaison with relevant connected projects and initiatives. In addition, we lead the task dedicated to the preliminary needs assessment of citizens’ perspectives and concerns in their relation with the urban aquatic ecosystems with the aim to extract valuable knowledge to help inform the design and development of the solution.