AHEAD Update – March / April / May 2012
Dear AHEAD Colleagues:
*Welcome to the second AHEAD Update of 2012. Please note that URL hotlinks for many of the organizations mentioned below can be found at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/links.html. If you would like to post an item in the next AHEAD Update, please just send it to us- thanks. News on potential funding appears towards the end of this Update.
Making sure the Table is Fully Set for the June FAO / OIE Global Conference on Foot and Mouth Disease Control
As the Global Strategy for the Control of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is being prepared by the OIE and FAO, to be underpinned by the new Progressive Control Pathway for FMD (PCP-FMD), we find ourselves wondering whether the approaches being focused on will be adequate to accommodate the diversity of impacts FMD has in different parts of the world, especially in terms of how FMD control measures themselves interact with other rural development imperatives. In the southern and East African contexts, understanding both positive and negative impacts of FMD control methods is essential if we hope to optimize the potential for the rural poor to benefit from both wildlife conservation as well as trade in products derived from livestock. We suggest that, in order to minimize unintended but nevertheless unfortunate cross-sectoral impacts, it may be necessary to more fully articulate a wider range of management options for FMD so that practical progress can be achieved equally effectively in different contexts in different parts of the world. While the international animal health community would certainly acknowledge that the PCP-FMD is not an attempt to promulgate a “one size fits all” methodology, we still worry that when the Global Strategy for FMD Control is rolled out, most veterinary authorities will recognize a familiar emphasis on geographic freedom from disease, with other more modern, and equivalent, options still being only mentioned casually and without the guidance (related to certification, auditing and thus wider international acceptance) having been put in place by the appropriate international bodies to operationalize them.
The prevailing approach to managing FMD has been designed on a geographic basis, i.e., the creation of areas (disease-free countries, zones or compartments) with the objective of progressive FMD eradication from domestic livestock. This strategy is supported by the assumption that imports of livestock commodities and products can be safely sourced from such disease-free areas. While this is true in some rural settings, in others, especially where large numbers of free-living cloven-hoofed wildlife (some of which maintain the infection) are dispersed over vast geographic areas, achieving freedom from FMD is often technically impossible. This has resulted in the use of extensive fencing systems (sometimes accompanied by wildlife extermination exercises) to separate animal populations of different FMD status in southern Africa so that zones free from FMD can be established. From these zones, beef can be exported to high-value markets - the current ‘model.’ However, the damaging effects of such barriers on the environment generally and wildlife conservation in particular are profound and becoming increasingly obvious. Moreover, as shown by the increasing frequency of FMD outbreaks across the southern African region in the last 10 years, the current strategy is clearly failing (http://www.foot-and-mouth.org/open-documents/bulletin-fmdsa-back-issues/folder_contents). Those major bilateral and multilateral donors investing in such geographically-based strategies surely owe their developing country clients a more thorough approach to environmental and social impact assessments than has historically been the case? Related to this, the poorest of the poor tend to live closest to wildlife, and thus simply cannot access broader markets for their livestock products under the prevailing disease control paradigm.
The fact is that alternative animal disease management and sanitary trade standards are available that could potentially increase the effectiveness of current FMD control, promote more effective access to markets, and lessen the unfortunate environmental consequences that accompany the present geographic approach. Adoption of such standards would also facilitate more balanced rural development portfolios, vital for alleviation of pervasive rural poverty and environmental degradation- both widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. It's noteworthy that the OIE’s Terrestrial Animal Health Code already provides clear guidance in terms of the acceptability of commodity-based trade of beef from FMD infected countries or zones in Article 8.5.25. Commodity-based trade, involving safe and stringent processing of animal-derived products, increases biological safety and options for beneficiation (value addition). It also alleviates the need for some of the fencing that has been needed to separate livestock from wildlife, often with significant negative environmental impacts. We thus urge the international animal health community, before the June FAO / OIE Global Conference on Foot and Mouth Disease Control to be held in Bangkok, to provide the guidance necessary to operationalize alternative foot and mouth disease management approaches, such as those involving commodity-based trade, so that stakeholders in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and beyond, who may well rely on a combination of wildlife- and livestock-based economic development, will have a roadmap related to certification, auditing and broader acceptance of appropriately prepared livestock-derived commodities by potential importing countries around the world.
The Beefeaucracy & the Need for a Unified Animal Product Hazard Risk Minimization System
The burden of bureaucracy remains a major factor holding back the developing world from the aid to trade transition all want to see. This is as true for the realm of animal health and animal products trade policy as for any other sectors. Commodity-based trade, an alternative to zonation-based freedom from disease in terms of the prevention of the spread of diseases of trade concern such as foot and mouth, requires process standards that are generically similar to those on which the HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points) management system is based- HACCP being universally adopted for the management of human food safety. HACCP satisfies the requirements of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement). ‘Equivalence’ (i.e., the accepted application of alternative measures to achieve the same result) is a founding principle of the SPS Agreement and provides considerable latitude for application of regionally appropriate trade standards that simultaneously accommodate the diversity of imperatives associated with rural development and land-use planning, including the safety of traded commodities and products as well as the conservation of wildlife. The management of animal disease hazards as they affect international trade also falls under the umbrella of the SPS Agreement, although standards for food safety and those for animal diseases have separate international standard-setting bodies (i.e., the Codex Alimentarius Commission and World Organisation for Animal Health [OIE], respectively). Herein may lie the problem.
There is growing acceptance that the management of biological hazards associated with food safety and hazards associated with animal disease spread would be most effectively implemented as an integrated continuum across production (value) chains- from animals in the field to the consumer. This is exemplified by catch phrases such as ‘farm to fork’ and ‘stable to table.’ Consequently, value chain management, as currently recommended by the FAO (http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/009/j4195e.htm#P60_3311) is increasingly used to ensure all-around quality, including biological safety. Other approaches, for example those based simply on the geographic distribution of infectious agents that cause dangerous infections of people and animals (the distribution of which are in any case rarely static), result in potential security gaps along the production continuum. Consumers and regulatory authorities therefore cannot be assured that undesirable practices / events have not been associated with the production of animal-based food.
For countries currently attempting to improve their rural economies in order to uplift large impoverished communities through trade in agricultural products, streamlining and integration of hazard management processes could be transformational from an economic development perspective. Is now a sensible time to revisit the current bifurcated system and think about a more holistic approach to management of biological hazards associated with animal-derived products? We think it is.
In short, especially where wildlife and associated industries play an increasingly prominent role in national and regional economies, an emphasis on zonal freedom from disease is not only proving to be increasingly fragile as a foot and mouth disease management strategy, it also precludes countries from employing other, more holistic and efficient approaches for managing diseases of trade concern and diseases related to food safety.
*What's happening with the AHEAD-Great Limpopo TFCA Working Group? – Good question! There has admittedly been a bit of a lull while the recruitment for the new AHEAD-GLTFCA Working Group Coordinator has progressed. The good news is that an announcement of the successful candidate is expected soon. We must again commend both the University of Pretoria and SANParks for successfully assembling the funding required to secure a Coordinator's post for at least the next three years. Of course this period of transition has meant that the annual AHEAD-GLTFCA Working Group Meeting is not being held in its usual February / March time slot. The hope is that the next (12th) AHEAD-GLTFCA Working Group Meeting will be scheduled for early October, 2012, but more details on that possibility to follow!
*AHEAD-Kavango-Zambezi DRAFT Year 3 Implementation Plan is available in English and Portuguese –
Draft Plano de Implementação do Ano-3, "Para Além Fronteiras: Opções de Políticas para Biodiversidade, Meios de Subsistência e Gestão de Doenças Transfronteiriças na África Austral" Programa Financiado pela USAID
*Take advantage of the free Southern African FMD Bulletin – an electronic newsletter on current foot and mouth disease (FMD) developments in the SADC region. It's produced under the auspices of the OIE Collaborating Centre for Training in Integrated Livestock and Wildlife Health and Management. This Collaborating Centre is run by the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases of the University of Pretoria (South Africa) and a number of partners. The objective is to gather and synthesize information from various sources, including field and laboratory data, to develop a contemporary understanding of recent events and to distribute this information to interested parties. So far, three Bulletins have been produced (two in 2010 and one in 2011) with the following themes:
1. Observations on issues related to the recent performance of vaccination
programs against FMD in the SADC Region;
See http://www.foot-and-mouth.org/open-documents/bulletin-fmdsa-back-issues/folder_contents for the individual PDF bulletins.
*Buffalo, Bush Meat, and the Zoonotic Threat of Brucellosis in Botswana (2012), Alexander KA , Blackburn JK , Vandewalle ME , Pesapane R , Baipoledi EK et al., PLoS ONE 7(3): e32842. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032842 – Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease of global importance infecting humans, domestic animals, and wildlife. Little is known about the epidemiology and persistence of brucellosis in wildlife in southern Africa, particularly in Botswana. Archived wildlife samples from Botswana (1995–2000) were screened with the Rose Bengal Test (RBT) and fluorescence polarization assay (FPA). Only buffalo (6%, 95% CI 3.04%–8.96%) and giraffe (11%, 95% CI 0–38.43%) were confirmed seropositive on both tests. Seropositive buffalo were widely distributed across the buffalo range where cattle density was low. Human infections were reported in low numbers with most infections (46%) occurring in children (<14 years old) and no cases were reported among people working in the agricultural sector. See http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0032842 for the full paper.
*Thanks to the generous support of the Rockefeller Foundation, we're thrilled to have Shirley Atkinson as our AHEAD Senior Program Manager! – Shirley, who just crossed her 1 year anniversary with WCS / AHEAD, oversees a diverse portfolio of work in support of our conservation efforts in southern Africa and beyond. Born and raised in southern Africa, Shirley began her career as a wildlife ecologist focusing on the nutritional ecology of black rhinos. During that time, she received her Master’s in Tropical Resource Ecology from the University of Zimbabwe and became intimately involved in rhino conservation issues. When she moved to the United States as part of the Zimbabwean diaspora, she continued to follow her passion for wildlife conservation in the academic community, teaching biology at a private university and establishing a multi-disciplinary undergraduate program in conservation science. She initially joined WCS in 2006 as the North America Program's Senior Program Coordinator, overseeing a range of conservation and research efforts. Before coming back to WCS, Shirley completed several years at the Nevada Department of Wildlife where she coordinated implementation of the state's Wildlife Action Plan. Happy AHEAD anniversary, Shirley!
*Reviews of the short film Beauty and the Beef: Achieving Compatibility Between Wildlife Conservation and Livestock Production have been excellent! – As noted in the previous AHEAD Update, you can watch the video by clicking on the Beauty and the Beef image on the AHEAD homepage at http://www.wcs-ahead.org. For those of you experiencing inadequate bandwith when trying to watch the film, we may be able to provide a small number of DVDs- especially for those of you likely to show the video to larger groups as part of your own work. Please contact Shirley Atkinson firstname.lastname@example.org to request a DVD, noting that supplies are limited and we will need to allocate them on a case-by-case basis:
African farmers living in areas with wildlife are faced with a serious dilemma: they cannot sell their healthy, free-range beef to the lucrative export market. Current international trade practices dictate that they cannot protect the wildlife and, at the same time, farm their cattle in the same general area. If they want to export their beef to wealthy nations, they will have to get rid of all the wild buffalo or put up environmentally damaging veterinary fences. Robin Lyonga lives in the spectacular and largely unspoiled environment of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area. He and his community are poor. What should he choose when trying to lift himself and his community out of poverty: protecting the wildlife and pursuing opportunities related to ecotourism and trophy hunting, or turning his back on conservation and selling his cattle into the lucrative beef export market? The truth is that there is a win-win solution: Robin Lyonga and his community can earn an income from conservation and sell their beef to the export market. All that is needed to enable this potentially bright future for millions of African cattle farmers is a small change in attitude on the part of wealthy trading nations.
*Call for papers & registration: IVth International Wildlife Management Congress, Durban, South Africa, July 9-12, 2012 – The Wildlife Society (TWS), in partnership with the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa (WESSA), SANParks, and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife will host the IVth International Wildlife Management Congress at the Durban International Convention Center, South Africa from July 9-12, 2012. This is the first time the Congress will be held in Africa. The first three Congresses were held in Costa Rica, Hungary, and New Zealand in 1993, 1996, and 2003 respectively. The overall theme of “Cooperative Wildlife Management Across Borders: Learning in the Face of Change” sets the scene for 11 separate sub-themes that will be covered in concurrent sessions over the four day Congress. Sub-themes include: Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management and Conservation; Trans-border Cooperation and Conservation; Climate Change; Wildlife Health and Disease; Wildlife Population Management; Professional Development and Training; Endangered Species Recovery; Invasive Species; Natural Resource Use and Sustainability; and Habitat Restoration, Modification and Stewardship. Please see www.iwmc2012.org for more details.
*Call for papers & registration: 1st Biennial Disaster Risk Reduction Conference, Potchefstroom, South Africa, October 10-12, 2012 – The African Center for Disaster Studies (ACDS) at North-West University would like to welcome disaster reduction academics, researchers, practitioners and post-graduate students to the first biennial disaster risk reduction conference of the Southern Africa Society for Disaster Reduction. The conference will take place from 10 -12 October 2012 in the beautiful student town of Potchefstroom, North-West Province, South Africa. This inaugural conference has been convened to: celebrate ACDS’ first decade; provide a platform for the presentation, discussion and debate of different academic and professional approaches and research on disaster risk reduction issues; and establish and formally launch the new Southern Africa Society for Disaster Reduction. Conference themes include: Governance of Disaster Risk Reduction; Urban Dimensions of Risk; Water as Disaster Risk; Disaster Risk and Gender Issues; Climate Change Adaptation; Geo-spatial Applications for Disaster Risk Reduction; Risk Assessment and Early Warning; New Humanitarian Challenges; and Disaster Response and Recovery. For more information on the call for papers, registration, etc. please see http://acds.co.za/index.php?page=conf2012. The deadline for submission of abstracts is March 30, 2012.
*USAID funding opportunity: African Institutions Innovation Mechanism (AIIM) – for regional East African organizations in support of the U.S. Government’s regional Feed the Future (FTF) strategy for East Africa. Successful applicants must be operational in at least two of the following countries and legally registered in one: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and/or Uganda. Given that this program is designed to support the regional FTF strategy, applicants and/or their partners must have the experience, presence and organizational mandate to operate in a regional context and contribute to the strategy’s regional goals and objectives. The goal of the strategy is increased access, availability, and utilization of African-grown staple foods in regionally integrated markets. The objective is increased trade flows of staple foods in the region, linked to the northern and central transport corridors. The intermediate results are: 1) better integrated national and regional markets; 2) expanded regional access to improved technologies, knowledge, and inputs; 3) increased private investment in regional agriculture and nutrition; 4) increased capacity of East African regional partners; and 5) increased coordination among and services to the bilateral Feed the Future programs in East Africa. The strategy is linked to the objectives of the African-led Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP). Activities are focused on four regional value chains: 1) maize and other grains; 2) beans and pulses; 3) regionally traded fruits and vegetables; and 4) standardized methods and rules for livestock health. USAID/East Africa anticipates a total of approximately $2.5 million to be available for the first round of this funding opportunity. Additional funds may be available in subsequent rounds. Individual applications should be in the range of $100,000 to $1,000,000. Applications may be wholly funded under this round, or incrementally funded by this round and subsequent rounds, subject to the availability of funds. First closing date for submission of Concept Notes: April 1, 2012. Final closing date for submission of Concept Notes: January 1, 2013. AHEAD note: this at least seems like an opportunity to potentially advance exploration of commodity-based trade as a possible solution to cross-sectoral conflicts related to zonation- / fencing-based approaches to animal disease management (esp. foot and mouth disease) at the livestock / wildlife interface. See http://www.grants.gov/search/search.do?mode=VIEW&oppId=147073 for more information.
*Resilience in the Limpopo Basin (RESILIM) Program announced by USAID (this is for readers' information, recognizing the deadlines for responses are imminent) – USAID / Southern Africa has put out an RFP (Request for Proposals) and a related RFA (Request for Assistance) to develop and implement a program to improve transboundary management of the Limpopo River Basin resulting in enhanced resiliency of people and ecosystems. The work relates to a range of themes including river basin management, climate vulnerability, biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services, the livestock / wildlife interface, and capacity-building. Interested readers are referred to:
"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,
Steve, Mark & Shirley