AHEAD Update – May/June/July 2010

Dear AHEAD Colleagues:

*Welcome to the second AHEAD Update of 2010. Please note that URL hotlinks for many of the organizations mentioned below can be found at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/links.htmlNews on potential funding opportunities appears towards the end of this Update.


"Transboundary Conservation and Transboundary Animal Disease Management: Impasse or Opportunity?" –

A key economic driver behind existing and proposed transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs) in southern Africa is nature-based tourism that seeks to maximize returns from marginal lands in a sector where southern Africa enjoys a global comparative advantage.  Nature-based tourism (photographic, trophy hunting, etc.) now contributes about as much to the gross domestic product of southern Africa as agriculture, forestry, and fisheries combined – a remarkable and relatively recent development documented by the Millennium Ecosystem AssessmentHowever, the management of wildlife and livestock diseases (including zoonoses – diseases transmissible between animals and people) within larger transboundary landscapes remains unresolved and an emerging policy issue of major concern to livestock production, associated access to export markets, and other sectors, including public health, in the region.  Livestock farming is, of course, an important traditional way for communities in sub-Saharan Africa to build and maintain wealth, not to mention attain food security.  Essentially, the TFCA concept and current internationally accepted approaches to the management of transboundary animal diseases (TADs) are largely incompatible. The TFCA concept promotes free movement of wildlife over large geographic areas, whereas the present approach to the control of TADs is to use vast fences to prevent movement of susceptible animals between areas where TADs occur and areas where they do not, and to similarly restrict trade in commodities derived from animals. In short, the incompatibility between (a) current regulatory approaches for the control of diseases of agro-economic importance and (b) the vision of vast conservation landscapes without major fences needs to be reconciled if SADC countries choose to pursue transfrontier conservation initiatives in the interest of regional risk-diversification of land-use options and livelihood opportunities. Economic development that is based upon a diversified portfolio that includes both livestock-based and wildlife-related activities increases opportunities for resilience among southern African communities and nations subject to threats like climate change. Fortunately, new approaches to TAD management appear to be on the horizon, and southern Africa may be uniquely positioned as a global leader in terms of optimizing land-use choices in the interest of sustainable economic development and biodiversity conservation.


*New OIE Collaborating Centre for Integrated Training in Livestock and Wildlife Health and Management established – Since May 2009, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has recognized the University of Pretoria Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases (DVTD) and its consortium partners [University of Pretoria (Centre for Veterinary Wildlife Studies, Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences, Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development); Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute (OVI), SA; Animal Health Department of the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM), Antwerp, Belgium; National Institute for Communicable Diseases, SA; National Department of Agriculture, SA] as a Collaborating Centre for Training in Integrated Livestock and Wildlife Health and Management. One of the major roles of the Collaborating Centre is to assist the OIE in developing and offering training in the management and health of livestock and game with special emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa. The training will follow an integrated approach linking animal and human health, animal production, marketing and trade of animals and their products, land-use options, rural development, conservation and environmental health. For more information, please contact Koos Coetzer Koos.coetzer@up.ac.za and Renè Perridge Rene.Perridge@up.ac.za

*New 'One Health' program funded by the EU – ICONZ is aimed at improving human health and animal production in developing countries through Integrated Control of Neglected Zoonoses in animals, based on scientific innovation and public engagement. ICONZ unites experts from 21 European and African partner institutes collaborating to develop effective strategies for integrated control of neglected zoonoses. Effective control in animals will require scientific innovation to identify and (where necessary) develop tools for diagnosis and for quantification of disease burdens. Public engagement at all stakeholder levels will be needed to ensure that strategies are appropriate for use in affected communities and are adopted within the policy framework of affected countries. Neglected zoonoses, such as anthrax, rabies, brucellosis, bovine TB, zoonotic trypanosomiasis, echinococcosis, cysticercosis and leishmaniasis, are major causes of ill-health in people in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Control of these diseases in animals represents an opportunity to address the constraints they pose to both human health and animal productivity, thereby contributing to poverty reduction and the Millennium Development Goals. For more information, please see http://www.iconzafrica.org/ or contact ICONZ@ed.ac.uk.


*AHEAD Great Limpopo TFCA Seed Grant Final Reports now downloadable as PDFs at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/gltfca_grants/grants.html. All final reports are now in, so please feel free to take a look at what Seed Grantees have accomplished during their one-year projects. The links to PDF reports are at the bottom of each project's abstract.

*AHEAD Great Limpopo TFCA Working Group Seed Grantees featured in Worldwatch Institute's "Nourishing the Planet" Analysis – The Worldwatch Institute's "Nourishing the Planet" project is assessing the state of agricultural innovations in Africa—from cropping methods to irrigation technology to agricultural policy—with an emphasis on sustainability, diversity, and ecosystem health, as well as productivity. The project aims to both inform global efforts to eradicate hunger and raise the profile of these efforts. The project will also consider the institutional infrastructure needed by each of the approaches analyzed, suggesting what sort of companion investments are likely to determine success—from local seed banks to processing facilities, from pro-poor value chains to marketing bureaus. The "Nourishing the Planet" project will culminate in the release of State of the World 2011, a comprehensive report that will focus on agriculture and will be accompanied by derivative briefing documents, summaries, videos, and podcasts. This volume will be a roadmap for foundations and international donors interested in supporting the most effective agricultural development interventions in various agroecological and socioeconomic contexts. The project’s findings will be disseminated to a wide range of influential agricultural stakeholders, including government ministries, agricultural policymakers, farmer and community networks, and the increasingly influential non-governmental environmental and development communities. See http://blogs.worldwatch.org/nourishingtheplanet/archives/.

*New Report from Chatham House Royal Institute of International Affairs- "Shifting from Emergency Response to Prevention of Pandemic Disease Threats at Source" (April 2010) – Please see  http://www.chathamhouse.org.uk/publications/papers/view/-/id/854/ for a freely downloadable PDF. This report, from a working meeting recently held in London, recognizes wildlife conservation as a bona fide sectoral partner, as well as emphasizes the importance of looking further 'upstream' at the broader range of factors contributing to disruptions in health at a range of scales. The work was shepherded collaboratively by two key programs within Chatham House (the Energy, Environment and Development Programme and the Centre on Global Health Security). It's a quick read and worth the effort!

*AHEAD Great Limpopo Scenario Planning Overview Report now available- "Current and Future Challenges in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area - A Scenario Planning Approach" (by Mike Murphree, January 2010) is freely downloadable in PDF at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/workinggrps_limpopo.html.

*"Bovine Tuberculosis in Buffaloes, Southern Africa," de Garine-Wichatitsky M., Caron A., Gomo C., Foggin C., Dutlow K., Pfukenyi D., Lane E., Le Bel S., Hofmeyr M, Hlokwe T. and A. Michel. Emerging Infectious Diseases, May 2010. – See http://www.cdc.gov/EID/content/16/5/884.htm. Emergence of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in wildlife in southern Africa has implications not only for the conservation of the wildlife species affected but also for the health of humans and livestock living at the wildlife–livestock–human interface. Bovine TB in South Africa's Kruger National Park was first found in African buffaloes (Syncerus caffer) in 1990 and likely entered the park by cattle-to-buffalo transmission. Bovine TB infection has been spreading northward; in 2003, infection was confirmed in a buffalo ≈60 km south of the Limpopo River. In 2005, a case was confirmed only 6 km south of the river (D. Keet, unpub. data). In 2008, we isolated Mycobacterium bovis from African buffaloes in Zimbabwe.... The management implications of bovine TB in buffaloes in Gonarezhou National Park are considerable. Once bovine TB is established in a native free-ranging maintenance host, eradication is unlikely. Evaluation of the prevalence and distribution of the infection in wildlife and livestock populations on the Zimbabwe side of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area is urgently needed. Control options in wildlife are limited, but chances of success are greater if control measures are initiated at the early stage of disease spread into a new area. Adequate risk-mitigation strategies should be developed and implemented to reduce the risk for bovine TB transmission to livestock and humans living at the periphery of the unfenced Gonarezhou National Park. Failure to promptly assess the situation and adopt appropriate measures would have far-reaching conservation, economic, and public health consequences, not only for Zimbabwe but also for the political and social acceptance of the transfrontier conservation areas in southern Africa.... This work was conducted within the framework of the Research Platform 'Production and Conservation in Partnership' (RP-PCP) and the Animal & Human Health for the Environment And Development project...."

*Year 1 Draft Implementation Plan for AHEAD-Kavango-Zambezi initiative now downloadable in PDFplease see http://www.wcs-ahead.org/workinggrps_kaza.html.

*New WCS annotated bibliography on "Public Health Impacts of Ecological Degradation" now downloadable in PDFplease see http://www.wcs-ahead.org/print.html.

*New IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institute) Analysis: "Climate Change Implications for Water Resources in the Limpopo River Basin" – This paper analyzes the effects of climate change on hydrology and water resources in the Limpopo River Basin of southern Africa, using a semi-distributed hydrological model and the Water Simulation Module of the International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT). The analysis focuses on the effects of climate change on hydrology and irrigation in parts of the four riparian countries within the basin: Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Results show that water resources of the Limpopo River Basin are already stressed under today’s climate conditions. Projected water management and infrastructure changes are expected to improve the situation by 2030 if current climate conditions continue into the future. However, under the four climate change scenarios studied here, water supply situations are expected to worsen considerably by 2030. Assessing hydrological impacts of climate change is crucial given that expansion of irrigated areas has been postulated as a key adaptation strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa. Such expansion will need to take into account future changes in water availability in African river basins. To download the complete report, see

*The Earthscan Reader in Poverty and Biodiversity Conservation, 2010, edited by Dilys Roe and Joanna ElliottIn the last decade, biodiversity loss and persistent poverty in developing countries have been recognised as major international problems that require urgent attention. However, the nature and scale of the links between these two problems, and between efforts to address them, has been the subject of much heated debate. Understanding the different elements of this debate is critical if we are to move towards constructive solutions. This Reader provides a guide to, and commentary on, the different strands of the current conservation-poverty debate through a selection of key readings from both the conservation and development literature including policy documents, journal articles and reports. The breadth of material will help readers, including both students and professionals, to locate current debates within their wider contexts. Free inspection copies are available for university faculty and instructors. For more information, see http://www.earthscan.co.uk/?tabid=101812.

*Community Management of Natural Resources in Africa: Impacts, Experiences and Future Directions, 2009, by Dilys Roe, Fred Nelson, and Chris SandbrookMore than twenty years have passed since community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) rose to prominence in different parts of Africa as a strategy for rural development, local empowerment, and conservation. Led by new ideas about the merits of decentralized, collective resource governance regimes, and creative field experiments such as Zimbabwe's CAMPFIRE, these community-based approaches evolved in a wide range of ecological, political, and social contexts across Africa. This review provides an unprecedented pan-African synthesis of CBNRM, drawing on multiple authors and a wide range of documented experiences from Southern, Eastern, Western and Central Africa. The review discusses the degree to which CBNRM has met poverty alleviation, economic development and nature conservation objectives. In its concluding chapter, the report suggests a way forward for strengthening CBNRM and addressing key challenges in the years ahead. The document is freely available in PDF and for sale in hard copy at http://www.iied.org/pubs/display.php?o=17503IIED.

*New technical disease cards available on-line from the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) – Collaboration among scientists from OIE Reference Laboratories around the world and other relevant experts has led to an updated compilation of 33 technical disease cards, including cards on 32 OIE-listed priority diseases such as foot and mouth disease, highly pathogenic avian influenza, Rift Valley fever and bluetongue. The update was possible thanks to support from USDA-APHIS (USA). The cards are currently available online in English (http://www.oie.int/eng/maladies/en_technical_diseasecards.htm) and will also be translated into French and Spanish. In the coming months, the OIE intends to publish an illustrated "Atlas of Transboundary Animal Diseases" which will include technical, disease-specific pictures. For non-technical audiences, the OIE has also published information on selected animal diseases, including zoonoses, in a "Questions and Answers" format online in three languages at http://www.oie.int/eng/ressources/en_diseasecards.htm.

*May 2010 issue of Africa Geographic features editorial by John Hanks on the need for collaborative networks like AHEAD to solve today's complex environmental problems – see "Signing Off" essay called "Joint Effort Required" on p. 72 of the May issue on news stands now! For more information on Africa Geographic, please see http://www.africageographic.com.

*Great Limpopo TFCA 'Wiki' Projects Table continues to be updated – See http://www.wcs-ahead.org/gltfca_projects/projects.html. Thanks to all who continue to enter their projects!


*10th AHEAD (Animal & Human Health for the Environment And Development) Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA) Working Group (WG) meeting held February 24, 25 and 26, 2010 at the Casa do Sol Hotel & Conference Center, Hazyview, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa, with more than 120 participants from Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Last year’s meeting involved almost 80 participants, and now we’ve exceeded 120! Needless to say, we were quite (pleasantly) surprised at the growing regional demand for the cutting-edge, practical type of information-sharing and networking the AHEAD-GLTFCA initiative has come to be known for. Many attendees told us this forum has become one of southern Africa’s most important working fora when it comes to conservation and development, and a number of participants were also actively interested in the incipient AHEAD-Kavango-Zambezi initiative, with many important side-meetings occurring late into the evening hours!

This year’s meeting included three components: a one-day “One Health” symposium of invited scientific papers and offered poster papers; a second day of final reports on AHEAD-GLTFCA Seed Grant projects, offered papers and posters; and a final morning session on conceptual frameworks and improving interdisciplinary / transdisciplinary research and conservation and development outcomes in the GLTFCA. Following an inspiring opening keynote address by Dr. Jakob Zinsstag of the Swiss Tropical Institute on Day 1, there were three Day 1 symposium sessions: Emerging and Transboundary Diseases; Ecology, Land-Use Mosaics and Transboundary Natural Resource Management; Economics and TFCAs; and a concluding discussion session on One Health. The second day included an incredible array of final reports from all of the AHEAD-GLTFCA Seed Grant projects (http://www.wcs-ahead.org/gltfca_grants/grants.html). As an added highlight, the Bennde Mutale Community Theatre Group performed one of their plays focused on conservation and development challenges in the Great Limpopo TFCA, work that was supported by one of the Seed Grants. The final morning included a working session on conceptual frameworks and how, going forward, the AHEAD-GLTFCA initiative can best continue to contribute to supporting interdisciplinary applied research and management needs in the GLTFCA. Following the closing of the formal meeting, a smaller group of stakeholders was assembled (as planned in advance) to evaluate the future niche of the AHEAD-GLTFCA initiative, and the roles SANParks and other key partners such as the University of Pretoria would likely need to take-on for sustained success. This planning meeting was timely and productive, and the implementation of the agreed actions will ensure the ongoing progression toward full regional ownership of the AHEAD-GLTFCA initiative, allowing WCS to play a less active role, incrementally, over the next several years- the type of catalysis originally envisioned.

PDFs of most of the PowerPoint presentations from the diverse agenda of the 10th AHEAD-GLTFCA WG meeting are now available online at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/workinggrps_limpopo.html, and the meeting photo gallery is also now posted. The final minutes from the 10th meeting of the AHEAD-Great Limpopo TFCA Working Group will be emailed to AHEAD-GLTFCA WG members and posted on the website in PDF as soon as they are finalized. Special thanks go to our South African hosts, and our sponsors (including the Rockefeller Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, as well as IUCN).


*EcoHealth 2010 Conference: 18-20 August, 2010, London, United Kingdom –The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) is delighted to invite you to London for the 2010 EcoHealth Conference on the theme:  Global EcoHealth Challenges; Multiple Perspectives. This is the third biennial conference of the International Association for Ecology and Health (IAEH). Association members have special rates for this and all EcoHealth conferences, and we invite all conference participants to become members of the IAEH. Our aims are:
– To bring together academic institutions, government bodies and civil society groups to discuss jointly the major challenges facing people, wildlife and ecosystems internationally at the end of this first decade of the 21st Century;
– To place a major emphasis on the perspectives of peoples most vulnerable to the harms of ecosystem destruction, including indigenous peoples, women, and young people. For more information, please see http://www.ecohealth2010.org/.

*Call for Papers: "Towards a New Knowledge for Scale Sensitive Governance of Complex Systems," meeting to be held November 10-12, 2010, Wageningen, the Netherlands –Wageningen University and Research Centre invites abstracts, which should be 300-400 words and will be reviewed for originality, scientific merit and relevance to the conference themes. A condition of submission is that, if accepted, one of the authors will present the paper at the conference. Policies have many impacts on environmental and human processes at different spatial and temporal scales. Climate change, biodiversity, energy consumption, water resource management, and food security are a few of the many examples illustrating the complex multi-scale interactions within and between environmental and human processes. This observation fits well within a long history of disappointments in policy and management related to our environment and indicates that scale sensitive governance approaches are required. Abstracts are due May 31, 2010, and should be sent to scaling.governance@wur.nl. Please see http://www.scalinggovernance.wur.nl/UK/Conference for more information.


*Global Health Academy at The University of Edinburgh launches a new Distance Learning course in Biodiversity, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health for which scholarships are available – Five Global Health Academy Masters Scholarships are available from the University (2 for MSc by research and 3 for E-Distance Learning courses) for 2010-11. Anyone interested in applying for International Animal Heath or Emerging and Neglected Infectious Diseases on-line courses or in undertaking a residential Public Health Masters, Centre for International Public Health Policy (CIPHP) please see http://www.globalhealthacademy.ed.ac.uk/ for further details. Information on the various MSc programs is available as follows:
– MSc in Biodiversity, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health - http://www.web.mvm.ed.ac.uk/
– MSc in International Animal Health - http://www.internationalanimalhealth.ed.ac.uk/
– MSc in Emerging and Neglected Infectious Diseases - http://www.enid.mvm.ed.ac.uk/

*International Foundation for Science (IFS) Research Grants, applications due December 30, 2010 – Applications for IFS Research Grants are welcome from young scientists in developing countries to do research on the sustainable management, use or conservation of biological or water resources. This broad statement covers natural science and social science research on agriculture, soils, animal production, food science, forestry, agroforestry, aquatic resources, natural products, water resources, etc. Applications are accepted all year and are to be made on an IFS Application Form. For more information, please see the links below or contact program administrators directly via http://www.ifs.se/About/contact_us.asp:

*Eco EID Pre-announcement for Call for Proposals for South East Asia – In collaboration with CIDA and AusAID, the IDRC Ecohealth team is pleased to circulate a Pre-announcement for the Ecohealth Emerging Infectious Diseases Research Initiative (Eco EID) Call for Proposals for South East Asia. The Call is being developed by the IDRC Ecosystem Approaches to Human Health Program Initiative and the Global Health Research Initiative. CA$5 million will be available via a Call for Proposals to be launched in mid-2010 for up to four multi-country ecohealth research projects. This will be an open competition for projects of four years duration. Research funded through the Eco EID initiative's Call for Proposals in South East Asia will apply an ecohealth approach to improve the understanding of the environmental, societal, and economic interactions associated with development that predispose the region to disease emergence and spread. It will also assist in the development of intervention strategies that sustainably prevent or limit the spread of emerging infectious diseases. For additional information, please see http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-151369-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html
or contact EcoEID@idrc.ca.

If you have items for the next AHEAD Update, please just let us know – thanks.

"What is AHEAD?" Animal & Human Health for the Environment And Development was launched at the 2003 IUCN World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa.  By assembling a ‘dream team’ of veterinarians, ecologists, biologists, social and economic scientists, agriculturists, wildlife managers, public health specialists and others from across East and southern Africa, the Wildlife Conservation Society, IUCN, and a range of partners tapped into some of the most innovative conservation and development thinking on the African continent – and AHEAD was born. Since then, a range of programs addressing conservation, health, and concomitant development challenges have been launched with the support of a growing list of implementing partners and donors who see the intrinsic value of what WCS has called the “One World, One Health” approach. AHEAD is a convening, facilitative mechanism, working to create enabling environments that allow different and often competing sectors to literally come to the same table and find collaborative ways forward to address challenges at the interface of wildlife health, livestock health, and human health and livelihoods. We convene stakeholders, help delineate conceptual frameworks to underpin planning, management and research, and provide technical support and resources for projects stakeholders identify as priorities. AHEAD recognizes the need to look at health and disease not in isolation but within a given region's environmental and socioeconomic context.

All the best,