AHEAD Update – January / February / March 2013

Dear AHEAD Colleagues:

*Welcome to the first AHEAD Update of 2013. 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.



Resolution by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Calling for Adoption of Commodity-Based Trade and Other Non-Geographic Approaches for Foot and Mouth Disease Management as Additional Regional Standards for Trade in Animal Products


Across much of Africa, both wildlife and livestock represent economic growth opportunities in an increasingly globalised world. However, costs associated with current geographic zonation-based approaches to managing international trade-associated animal disease risks often preclude access to international markets. In addition, many attempts to meet international standards related to freedom from disease under historically prevailing policies have had significant negative repercussions for free-ranging wildlife, largely related to veterinary cordon fencing. Given the importance of both sectors to many countries across Africa, it is time to reevaluate how best to manage risks from diseases like foot and mouth in ways that help Africa's pastoralists and farmers, do not threaten free-ranging wildlife, and also provide confidence to beef importing countries that the products they are buying pose minimal threats to their own agricultural sector. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) thus believes that any sound foot and mouth disease (FMD) management initiatives must be genuinely multi-sectoral in nature.

Experience over time has shown that other activities, such as wildlife conservation, that are undertaken on the same land base as livestock rearing, are perhaps just as likely to be impacted, positively or negatively, by policies designed for the livestock sector. Recommendations from the international community for progressive control of a disease like FMD, with its inherent epidemiological complexity (different from rinderpest in many important respects), should be accompanied by cross-sectoral economic impact analysis for those countries in SADC for which livestock and wildlife are both vital contributors to GDP. 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 not only appears to be increasingly fragile as an FMD management strategy (as evidenced by recent outbreak trends), but also potentially limits countries from seriously considering other, more holistic approaches to managing FMD and the concomitant potential for more diversified land-use options likely to enhance resilience in an uncertain world. It is recognised that, under a range of conditions, fencing remains a useful multi-purpose tool for managing conflicts at the wildlife / livestock / human interface. The critical resource allocation and land-use decisions currently faced by SADC countries must prove themselves to be socially, ecologically and economically sustainable for generations to come.... SEE FULL DECLARATION HERE.


*SADC TADs Project "Scientific Session on Foot and Mouth Disease" and Joint SADC / AHEAD Workshop "Reconciling Livestock Health and Wildlife Conservation Goals in Southern Africa: Strategies for Sustainable Economic Development" held November 13-16, 2012 at Phakalane Golf Estate, Gaborone, Botswana, with more than 100 participants from across SADC and beyond – The basis for the meeting, which produced The Phakalane Declaration mentioned above, was the fact that it is now well recognized that across parts of southern Africa both livestock and wildlife represent economic growth opportunities. However, costs associated with current approaches to managing international trade-associated animal disease risks often preclude the livestock sector's access to international markets. Many attempts to meet international standards related to 'freedom from disease' under currently emphasized geographically-based policy constructs have had significant negative repercussions for free-ranging wildlife, largely related to veterinary cordon fencing. The time has come to seriously explore alternative animal health and trade management regimes that do not implicitly pit the livestock and wildlife sectors against each other. PDFs of most of the PowerPoint presentations from the diverse four day agenda will be made available online shortly. The final combined Proceedings will be posted as well, and will also be emailed to those who were in attendance. Special thanks go to Nidhi Gureja of Seanama Conservation Consultancy, the SADC team of co-hosts, and to the Rockefeller Foundation, the African Development Bank, the U. S. Agency for International Development, and the Botswana Vaccine Institute for the critical support that made the week's deliberations possible. See also IN THE NEWS below.

*Consultative Workshop and Training on Broadening Access to International and Regional Markets for Southern Africa’s Livestock Producers, organized by the University of Pretoria and the Istituto G. Caporale (Teramo, Italy), held November 27-28, 2012, Pretoria, South Africa – Participants included public sector regulatory bodies from SADC countries, industry association and NGO representatives (including those involving wildlife), academics and diplomats. With an emphasis on sanitary trade standards (food safety and animal disease-associated), the meeting's focus was on improving understanding of the reasons behind declining competitiveness and poor trade performance in relation to commodities / products derived from animals in the SADC region. Organizers intend to use the results of this consultation to develop action plans that will contribute to improved regional trade performance in the near- to medium-term future. Proceedings of the consultative workshop and PDF copies of most of the presentations are available upon request from: rene.perridge@up.ac.za.


*Beauty and the Beef: SADC Moves to Capitalize on BothWindhoek Observer, 22 November 2012. The Wildlife Conservation Society congratulates animal health and wildlife conservation experts from SADC on their adoption of additional, environmentally-friendly ways to manage trade-sensitive animal diseases like foot and mouth, with an aim towards easing tensions at the livestock-wildlife interface....http://www.observer.com.na/business/596-beauty-and-the-beef


*New book – Transfrontier Conservation Areas: People Living on the Edge (2012), Andersson JA, de Garine-Wichatitsky M, Cumming DHM, Dzingirai V and Giller KE (eds.), Routledge, London, 216 pp. – The introduction of transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs) in southern Africa was based on an enchanting promise: simultaneously contributing to global biodiversity conservation initiatives, regional peace and integration, and the sustainable socio-economic development of rural communities. Cross-border collaboration and eco-tourism have been seen as the vehicles of this promise, which would enhance regional peace and stability along the way. However, as these highly political projects take shape, conservation and development policymaking progressively shifts from the national to regional and global arenas, and the peoples most affected by TFCA formation tend to disappear from view. This book focuses on the forgotten people displaced by, or living on the edge of, protected wildlife areas. It moves beyond the grand 'enchanting promise' of conservation and development across frontiers, and unfounded notions of TFCAs as integrated social-ecological systems. Peoples' dependency on natural resources – the specific combination of crop cultivation, livestock keeping and natural resource harvesting activities – varies enormously along the conservation frontier, as does their reliance on resources on the other side of the conservation boundary. Hence, the studies in this book move from the dream of eco-tourism-fueled development supporting nature conservation and people towards the local realities facing marginalized people, living adjacent to protected areas in environments often poorly suited to agriculture. For more information, see http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9781849712088/.


*Accredited Conservation Medicine Workshop, South Africa, February 19-22, 2013 – The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa (NZG) is offering a four-day introductory, accredited, multidisciplinary workshop that will introduce participants to both the concepts of conservation medicine and its practical application. The relationships between environmental factors, human and animal health are complex, multi-scale and often poorly understood. These relationships are best investigated by multidisciplinary teams that include, for example, veterinarians, physicians, microbiologists, ecologists, biologists, toxicologists, epidemiologists, climatologists and sociologists. The workshop will consist of multidisciplinary practical lectures including how various professions can contribute to conservation medicine, biomedical sample collection and handling; legal, ethical, and safety considerations; epidemiology, statistics and data collection; interactive case studies and 3 practical sessions. Lecturers are experts in their fields and will be drawn from both the NZG and partner institutions. The minimum requirement is a Bachelor's degree. Cost is R6000.00 per person. Please contact Marilise Meyer marilise@nzg.ac.za or +27 12 339 2831 for more information.

*Conference on "Students as Catalysts for Large Landscape Conservation," March 1, 2013, Waterville, Maine, USA – The Environmental Studies Program at Colby College, in conjunction with partner universities, colleges, and research institutions, is hosting a 1-day conference focusing on students as catalysts for large landscape conservation. The event will provide students, practitioners, and scholars with the opportunity to network with, and learn from, peers and leading experts in the field of large landscape conservation from North America and beyond. One feature of the conference will be a conservation innovation contest for students. Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to submit essays or creative contributions, such as videos. Authors of winning contributions will receive travel reimbursements to attend the conference. One essay will be considered for inclusion in a forthcoming book on large landscape conservation published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and additional essays will be considered for publication in an issue of an international conservation journal. Students who are not awarded travel grants are still encouraged to attend in person or via web conferencing. The organizers also are soliciting student posters for display and presentation at the conference. These will not be considered as part of the conservation innovation contest for students. For more information, see http://web.colby.edu/landscapeconservation/. For questions about the conference, please contact: landscapeconservation@colby.edu.

*Associations of Institutions for Tropical Veterinary Medicine (AITVM) 2013 International Conference, "The Livestock-Human-Wildlife Interface: Challenges in Animal Health and Production in Urban/Peri-Urban and Extensive Farming/Conservation Systems," Johannesburg, South Africa, August 25-29, 2013 – The AITVM is a foundation of 22 veterinary faculties and livestock institutions from Africa, Asia and Europe. Its objective is to improve human health and quality of life through increased and safe food production in tropical regions by enhancing opportunities for research, training and education in veterinary medicine and livestock production, within the framework of sustainable development. Every three years the AITVM organizes an international conference- in 2013, the 14th AITVM International Conference will be jointly hosted by the University of Pretoria's Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases and the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium and will be held at the Indaba Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa. Abstracts are requested by February 15, 2013 and online registration will open February 1st. Please visit www.aitvm2013.org to register or contact Mrs. Petrie Vogel at petrie@savetcon.co.za for more information.


*Conservation Leadership MS Program, Colorado State University (CSU), now accepting applications for August 2013 start – Society is faced with some of the greatest challenges in history, from climate change to biodiversity loss to energy security and beyond. We need leaders who think differently, embrace complexity, and see the human and environmental condition as one intricate system. CSU’s Conservation Leadership Program, also called Conservation Leadership Through Learning (CLTL), is a 21-month Master of Science degree that will prepare students to be a part of the next generation of conservation leaders who will tackle these dynamic challenges. In August 2013, the third cohort of students will begin an intensive educational journey in the United States and around the world. CLTL merges trans-disciplinary university education with real-world action to train leaders who can deliver on-the-ground benefits for conservation and communities. By reaching far beyond the classroom walls, students will develop the knowledge and real-world skills to become effective conservation leaders making a difference for the environment and people’s lives. For more information, please see http://leadershipthroughlearning.org or contact leadership@warnercnr.colostate.edu. Applications are now being accepted through February 15th, 2013, for an August 2013 program start date.

*Several organizations have recently been added to the LINKS section of the AHEAD website at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/links.html. We are pleased to now have links in place to the South African Veterinary Foundation, the Research Platform - Production and Conservation in Partnership, and Wild Horizons Wildlife Trust.

Again, 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,

Steve, Mark & Shirley