AHEAD Update – July / August / September 2014
Dear AHEAD Colleagues:
*Welcome to the third AHEAD Update of 2014. 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.
“…Nevertheless, before implementing an FMD control programme, the intersectorial discussions within each country should assess mid- and long-term consequences on both livestock and wildlife populations, so as to ensure its sustainability….”
For this issue of the AHEAD Update, we are honored to feature an exclusive interview with Dr. Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health). We thank Dr. Vallat for taking time out of his extraordinarily busy schedule to participate in this interview.
• Q (Dr. Steve Osofsky) Dr. Vallat, thank you so much for participating in this forum. I know that the AHEAD Update's readership will be very interested in your perspective on a range of issues. I'd like to first ask if you've had a chance to read SADC’s 2012 Phakalane Declaration on Adoption of Non-Geographic Approaches for Management of Foot and Mouth Disease? If so, did its objectives seem aligned with OIE's current thinking on recognizing contextually relevant socioeconomic and / or environmental impacts of both foot and mouth disease (FMD) itself as well as of the methods (i.e.- extensive cordon fencing) potentially deployed to manage it?
A (Dr. Bernard Vallat) Yes, the objectives of the Phakalane Declaration are aligned with those of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The OIE provides outcome-based standards which can be adapted to local conditions through equivalence provisions.
Regarding international trade, international recognition of the legitimacy of different approaches has led to the principle of equivalence being included in trade agreements, including the SPS Agreement of the WTO.
The article 5.3.3 of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code (‘the
Code’) provides some considerations on the benefits of the
equivalence of sanitary measures, which help to:
Furthermore, participants of the FAO/OIE Global Conference on Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Control (Bangkok, Thailand, 2012) have recommended that countries should make use of the existing articles of the OIE Code in the appropriate stages, in particular zoning, compartmentalisation, containment, protection zones and commodity-based trade complying with adopted OIE standards and actively participate in the FMD standard setting process through their national Delegate. (Recommendation 11).
• Q (Dr. Steve Osofsky) The veterinary community was rightly pleased to finally be able to declare victory with the global eradication of rinderpest. I worry, however, that there may be some sectors of our community that have not clearly recognized how different the epidemiology of foot and mouth disease is from rinderpest, with the SAT serotypes of FMD having a natural maintenance host in the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer). Does the OIE accept that FMD in places where wild African buffalo still roam is currently not an eradicable disease, and that we should collectively focus on managing impact across the livestock and wildlife sectors?
A (Dr. Bernard Vallat) The OIE recognises that the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) can serve as a source of FMD infection for domestic animals in some cases. Nevertheless, the participants of the FAO/OIE Global Conference on FMD Control (2012) agreed that the global control of the disease is possible with existing means and methods.
It is important to raise awareness of the fact that the persistence of FMD virus in wild animals represents a threat to the domestic ruminant population and vice-versa: therefore, the impact of some FMD control measures on both wildlife conservation and domestic population is an important consideration.
• Q (Dr. Steve Osofsky) The Terrestrial Animal Health Code will likely see some significant revisions by the time of the next OIE World Assembly in May, 2015- particularly in regard to the chapter on FMD. I know that members of the SADC Livestock Technical Committee (LTC) worked very hard to develop recommendations for consideration by the OIE in terms of the FMD chapter. Can you confirm that those recommendations have been received, and are being given full consideration as the Scientific Commission and the Code Commission continue to deliberate on these important issues?
A (Dr. Bernard Vallat) The OIE Code Chapter on FMD (now Chapter 8.7) is currently undergoing a thorough review not only to incorporate new approaches to disease management but also to restructure the chapter in a way that makes it easier to follow and apply.
Since this process started some two years ago, the OIE has received many comments from Members, especially African Members and the SADC LTC. These comments have been reviewed by the Scientific Department and presented to the OIE Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases (SCAD). The SCAD has convened expert group meetings and all these comments have been taken into consideration as the draft chapter is being revised. The result of this revision was sent to the Code Commission for further examination. During the February 2014 meeting of these two commissions, the FMD chapter was discussed and further modified. Due to the importance of this chapter, the two commissions have placed it on the agenda of their joint meeting in September 2014. They will jointly examine and make decisions on this new text, prior to sharing it with Members, as part of the Commission report, which should be released in October 2014. At this time Members will have the opportunity to see what has been done and determine whether there is a need to further comment. If a consensus seems achievable, the revised chapter will be proposed for adoption at the 83rd General Session in May 2015.
This is a very complicated chapter and for this reason it is taking a long time to incorporate the extended number of Member comments. The overall intention of the two commissions is to have a chapter which allows for an easier adaptation of the recommendations to the specific circumstances of the affected countries.
Once the report of the commissions will be finalized (October 2014) we could plan to have a more detailed discussion with you.
• Q (Dr. Steve Osofsky) As follow-up, we've been concerned that Article 8.6.25 (now 8.7.25) clause 1.d of the current FMD chapter (now 8.7) creates, perhaps inadvertently, an impractically high burden of surveillance for southern African livestock holders living among wildlife but hoping to access beef export markets. We have recently published a paper in Transboundary and Emerging Diseases that addressed this issue. Do you think the relevant OIE commissions could reconsider this clause given that, for all practical purposes, it is a barrier to attempts to apply a valuable standard to the management of FMD that could improve the potential for broader market access and thus poverty alleviation for this part of the world?
A (Dr. Bernard Vallat) Since, as said above, the Code Chapter on FMD is being entirely revised, all the comments will be reviewed and discussed among the elected specialists, including those on the trade articles. The Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission will propose a version that will enable safe trade taking into account all available validated risk mitigation measures acceptable by a large majority of OIE Member Countries. Eventually, the World Assembly of Delegates of the 180 Member Countries of the OIE will decide.
• Q (Dr. Steve Osofsky) In previous issues of the AHEAD Update, we've noted that the current emphasis on geographic (fence-based) approaches to FMD management has imposed significant negative impacts on southern Africa's wildlife resources (and thus on the economic opportunities this wildlife is increasingly able to provide within the context of SADC's vision for transfrontier conservation). How flexible is the OIE on, for example, the application of FMD risk management along beef value chains through the application of commodity-specific measures that focus on critical control points? This would enable risk management associated with animal disease to be consistent with measures applied along value chains to ensure food safety and good agricultural and manufacturing practices, with the geographic origin of animals being of lesser importance.
A (Dr. Bernard Vallat) Regarding the importation of meat products of domestic ruminants from FMD infected countries or zones, the OIE Code specifically recognises commodity specific procedures that can be used along the beef value chain to effectively inactivate FMD in meat and products of animal origin even for countries not recognised as FMD free.
In respect of the inactivation of FMD virus in meat, the recognised procedures include canning, thorough cooking, and drying after salting. Article 8.7.25 also provides recommendations for importation of fresh meat of cattle and [Asian water] buffaloes from FMD infected countries or zones, where an official control programme for FMD involving compulsory systematic vaccination of cattle exists. Along with the animal requirements specified in this article, the key processing steps required are deboning of carcasses, removal of the major lymphatic nodes, and maturation of the carcass prior to deboning.
Procedures are also detailed for the inactivation of the FMD virus in milk for human and animal consumption or in wool and hair, and so on.
• Q (Dr. Steve Osofsky) Does OIE agree that there is actually something to be gained, particularly for the developing world, if approaches to animal disease management (OIE's purview) and food safety (as per the Codex Alimentarius under WHO/FAO auspices) are sensibly merged (from farm to fork) in the interest of efficiency, when it comes to the mitigation of what are all essentially biological hazards in products like meat?
A (Dr. Bernard Vallat) Of course, the OIE fully supports the idea that there has to be coordinated management between animal health and food safety.
The OIE established a working group on animal production food safety in 2002 in order to coordinate and manage the animal production food safety activities of the OIE. The scope of this group of worldwide recognised experts includes, among others, the harmonisation of the food safety standards developed and under development by the OIE and relevant international organisations, especially the Codex Alimentarius Commission. It also aims at improving the coordination between competent authorities, such as Veterinary Services and Public Health Services, with animal health and food safety responsibilities at the national and regional levels, including participation by other interested parties, as appropriate.
The OIE endorses the ‘One Health’ approach as a collaborative and all-encompassing way to address, when relevant, animal and public health globally. This collaboration should not be limited to the international level only, but must also happen at national levels.
FAO, OIE and WHO recognize their respective responsibilities in fighting diseases, such as FMD, that can have a serious health and economic impact. They have been working together for many years to prevent, detect, control and eliminate disease risks to humans originating directly or indirectly from animals. Since 2010, they have formally undertaken to work closely together, with joint strategies at the human-animal-environment interface, to support their Member Countries. This collaboration is named the ‘Tripartite Alliance’.
Moreover, the OIE recently adopted a new slogan which illustrates well this concept: ‘Protecting animals, preserving our future’. Fighting animal diseases and guaranteeing high-quality Veterinary Services are key to maintaining and improving public health and the safety of food products of animal origin, while protecting biodiversity.
• Q (Dr. Steve Osofsky) Finally, we've observed that the FAO-OIE Progressive Control Pathway for FMD (PCP-FMD) has recognized that parts of Africa are agro-ecologically unique, due to the presence of wild African buffalo, in terms of the epidemiological complexity of their FMD situation- for all of the reasons we've discussed. Would the OIE consider working with other sectoral partners to provide guidance to, for example, southern and East African countries based on more sectorally integrated assessments of land-use options? In other words, if those planning interventions confine themselves to consideration of the costs/benefits of FMD management to the livestock sector without paying attention to broader socioeconomic and environmental impacts of proposed control approaches (with the wildlife sector being increasingly important to the GDP of the SADC region), the breadth of information needed to make coherent land-use and associated rural development choices will be lacking?
A (Dr. Bernard Vallat) Yes, indeed, in the context of sub-Saharan Africa, the OIE recognises that the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) can serve as a source of FMD infection for domestic animals and that this risk must be considered when developing national FMD control programs. Efforts to control the disease should be regionally and locally appropriate.
In order to adapt to the local conditions, the OIE encourages the Veterinary Services of its Member Countries to work with stakeholders and collaborate with relevant authorities, through the PVS (Performance of Veterinary Services) Pathway.
The OIE PVS tool (Competency III-2 level 5; p. 40) recommends that the Veterinary Services should consult effectively with interested parties, including other ministries and Competent Authorities, national agencies and decentralised institutions that share authority or have mutual interest in their activities and programmes, and on developments in animal health and food safety.
In order to properly implement the risk-mitigating measures of the OIE standards at the national level, the OIE encourages the SADC countries, at the national and the regional level, to involve both livestock sector and wildlife sector stakeholders, when deciding on a long-term and sustainable implementation strategy.
The OIE is totally convinced of the importance of taking into consideration the socio-economic impact of wildlife. With this regard, OIE Delegates of each country have appointed a national Focal Point for Wildlife. This focal point, representatives of the ministries as well as interested stakeholders need to jointly work on a mutually beneficial and achievable strategy.
The OIE invites its Member Countries to make use of the existing articles of the OIE Code and combine these with the FMD-PCP approach in appropriate stages, in particular zoning, compartmentalization, containment, protection zones and commodity-based trade.
Nevertheless, before implementing an FMD control programme, the intersectorial discussions within each country should assess mid- and long-term consequences on both livestock and wildlife populations, so as to ensure its sustainability.
The OIE would be interested to collect more surveys and information on the cost of fencing for wildlife, because the support of biodiversity is included in our objectives within our strategic plan.
(Dr. Steve Osofsky) Dr. Vallat, it has been an honor to have such a constructive dialogue with you on these issues, and we are of course happy to provide additional information on fencing’s impacts on wildlife. I hope you feel that the AHEAD Update has been a useful way to share information on cutting-edge animal health and related wildlife conservation issues in a rapidly changing world, and we welcome you back any time- thank you!
*New paper – To Fence or Not to Fence (2014), Woodroffe R, Hedges S, and Durant SM. Science 344 (6179) pp. 46-48, doi: 10.1126/science.1246251 – Habitat fragmentation undermines the functioning of ecosystems, and so biodiversity conservation often entails maintaining or restoring landscape connections. However, conservationists also destroy connectivity by constructing wildlife fences. A recent debate about the use of fences to protect African lions highlights a more general need to evaluate the role of fencing in conservation. People and wildlife can be uneasy neighbors. Many wild species damage valuable livestock, crops, or infrastructure; some carry livestock diseases; and a few threaten human lives. Reconciling the needs of people and wildlife is a perpetual challenge, and separating the two may be appealing. Too often, however, fences are constructed without a realistic assessment of the costs and benefits. Moreover, as climate change increases the importance of wildlife mobility and landscape connectivity, fence removal may become an important form of climate change preparedness, and fencing of wildlife should become an action of last resort. For more information, see http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6179/46.
*New paper – Characteristics of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Viral Strains Circulating at the Wildlife/Livestock Interface of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (2014), Jori F, Caron A, Thompson PN, Dwarka R, Foggin C, de Garine-Wichatitsky M, Hofmeyr M, Van Heerden J, and Heath L. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, doi: 10.1111/tbed.12231 – Our study provides evidence of the circulation of different SAT-type foot and mouth disease viruses (FMDV) among cattle and buffalo populations living close to the boundaries of two countries encompassing the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA), and of the ability of FMDV transmitted from buffalo to cattle to travel long distances and initiate outbreaks in areas that are several hundred kilometres beyond the GLTFCA interface. It confirms that the transboundary circulation of such viruses across several countries of the GLTFCA and their spillover to cattle can seriously complicate the control of FMD outside infected zones at national and international levels (Bengis, 2005; Vosloo et al., 2005). In addition, it highlights the importance of infected livestock at the wildlife/livestock interface as potential disseminators of FMDV from TFCAs to other distant areas, which deserves further investigation. The control of FMD from a regional perspective requires international cooperation to combine efforts and create synergies between neighbouring countries facing similar challenges. In that sense, the development of TFCAs should also provide common cooperation platforms to control and monitor FMD dynamics in those high-risk areas to improve coordinated regional control of the disease. For more information, see http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1111/tbed.12231/.
*New paper – One Health: Past Successes and Future Challenges in Three African Contexts (2014), Okello AL, Bardosh K, Smith J, and Welburn SC. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 8(5): e2884. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002884 – The One Health movement requires more robust evidence around its practical implementation if it is to truly become a way forwards for addressing health issues at the human, animal and ecosystem interface. The research in this paper discusses some of the recent successes and challenges with both emerging and neglected zoonoses in the sub-Saharan Africa context. Through speaking to various human and animal health practitioners and policy makers in Uganda, Nigeria and Tanzania, the authors have created three case studies highlighting the various successes of the approach to date, but also clarifying areas where the approach will take longer to implement, often as a result of the wide institutional and policy changes required in many countries. The authors conclude that whilst the “goodwill” is certainly there, the reality of planning, executing and budgeting for joint interventions – particularly at the national or regional level – proves in many cases more difficult than first thought. It is hoped, however, that through gaining better insight from those charged with the decision-making in these countries, One Health practitioners will be encouraged to build on the momentum through addressing some of the issues that arise with its implementation. To access the full paper, see http://www.plosntds.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pntd.0002884.
*Take advantage of the African Veterinary Information Portal’s (AfriVIP) educational resources & Continuing Professional Development (CPD) modules – AfriVIP’s website hosts a large collection of openly licensed educational resources (OER). Ranging from course materials to videos to animations and images - this content is ready for downloading. The site also provides modules devoted to, for example, ‘animal health management,’ ‘international trade and marketing of animal commodities and products,’ and ‘drivers of emerging and re-emerging diseases’ which have been accredited by the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC). While all information on the portal is free, veterinarians and para-veterinary professionals also have the opportunity to earn CPD points after studying a module and completing an online test. A registration fee is payable to access the test. For more information, see http://www.afrivip.org/education.
*Additional Link to FMD Bulletins – the AHEAD website has added a link to the AfriVIP portal - the host for the entire series of the FMD: Southern Africa Bulletin. See http://www.wcs-ahead.org/fmd-bulletins.html or the side navigation bar on the AHEAD home page at http://www.wcs-ahead.org.
*AHEAD Kavango Zambezi 'Beyond Fences' Draft Year 5 Implementation Plan is now available in English and Portuguese –
DRAFT Plano de Implementação do Ano-5, "Para Além Fronteiras: Opções de Políticas para Biodiversidade, Meios de Subsistência e Gestão de Doenças Transfronteiriças na África Austral" Programa Financiado pela USAID
*"Beyond Fences: Policy Options for Biodiversity, Livelihoods & Transboundary Animal Disease Management in Southern Africa," recorded June 18, 2014 – United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Agrilinks Feed the Future Ag Sector Council Seminar, Washington DC. Presenter: Dr. Steve Osofsky. A webcast of the seminar, together with related resources, is available at: http://agrilinks.org/events/beyond-fences-policy-options-biodiversity-livelihoods-transboundary-animal-disease-management.
*RP-PCP (Research Platform – Production & Conservation in Partnership) / AHEAD (Animal & Human Health for the Environment And Development)-Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA) Working Group Conference, held May 12-15, 2014 in Hwange, Zimbabwe – More than 140 students, community members, researchers, managers, and private entrepreneurs attended this 4-day forum held at the Painted Dog Conservation facilities in Hwange District, Zimbabwe. The diverse array of attendees included small-scale farmers, local staff from governmental services, veterinary services and national park officials, as well as researchers, managers and students. This was also the first AHEAD-GLTFCA Working Group forum held in Zimbabwe! Thematic areas included: species conservation; agriculture and conservation; management at the human / livestock / wildlife interface; zoonotic diseases; legal aspects and issues around property rights of individuals and communities in TFCAs; economic analysis of natural resource management programmes and risk management in TFCAs; and the role of SADC in facilitating TFCAs and sustainable (tourism) development. Close to 50 full presentations were given and PDFs of most of the PowerPoint presentations from the diverse agenda will be available soon. Thanks go to all of the people who contributed to the sessions, with special thanks to Shirley Taschiona and Merle Whyte (again!) for organizational support. Funding for the meeting was provided by the RenCaRe project (via the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the DREAM project (EU), the USAID RESILIM Programme, and the IUCN BIOPAMA Programme, with other contributions from the Global Network for Disaster Reduction and the IUCN Sustainable Use Specialist Group.
*2014 Southern African Wildlife Management Association (SAWMA) Symposium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, August 31 - September 3, 2014 – SAWMA would like to invite wildlife scientists, managers, policy makers and students to its 2014 Symposium on “Reconciling the Contradictions of Wildlife Management in Southern Africa.” The meeting will take place from August 31 – September 3, 2014 at Pine Lodge Resort and Conference Centre, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape in South Africa. Thematic sessions will cover: conflicts around mesocarnivores; biodiversity consequences of game ranch practices; fences and the management of terrestrial wildlife species; views on renewable energy; emerging wildlife management information; biodiversity for profit; a Red List symposium; and adaptive management – a promising but elusive concept. For more information, see http://www.sawma.co.za/sym2014.html. Feel free to contact Elma Marais email@example.com or Craig Tambling firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
*Drivers, Scales and Context of Disaster Risk in the SADC Region Conference, Windhoek, Namibia, October 6 - 8, 2014 – The Multidisciplinary Research Center at the University of Namibia would like to welcome disaster reduction academics, researchers, practitioners and post-graduate students to the second biennial disaster risk reduction conference of the Southern Africa Society for Disaster Reduction. The conference will take place from October 6-8, 2014 in Windhoek, Namibia. Although the conference has a regional flavour, participants from all regions of the globe are welcome to attend. Conference themes include: disaster risk - the Namibian context; humanitarian relief in SADC; gender and disaster risk; technological innovation for DRR; public management and administration in disaster risk management - global, regional and local perspectives; environmental management / conservation in DRM; and urban risk and Africa’s changing risk profile. For more information, see http://sasdir.org/?q=conf2014.
*Call for Applications: AWARD Fellowships for Women in Africa, 2015 – AWARD (African Women in Agricultural Research and Development) is a career-development program that equips top women agricultural scientists across sub-Saharan Africa to accelerate agricultural gains by strengthening their research and leadership skills, through tailored fellowships. Women agricultural scientists who are citizens of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, or Zambia, who have completed a bachelors, masters, or doctoral degree (in a number of relevant disciplines) are eligible to apply. There is no age restriction. Application deadline is August 8, 2014. Program begins February / March 2015. For more information, see http://www.awardfellowships.org/.
*Master of Veterinary Studies (Conservation Medicine), School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Australia – This Masters can be undertaken by distance education or at the Murdoch University Campus (one year full time, or in part-time mode) and is available to veterinarians resident in Australia or overseas. It is offered on a full-fee paying basis only, and will provide veterinarians with training and expertise which can be applied in private practice, zoos and wildlife conservation projects. The program may be entirely coursework based or may involve a placement with a conservation project either in Australia or overseas. Further information can be accessed at http://goto.murdoch.edu.au/MVSConservationMedicine. Administrative queries related to this program and the application process should be directed to Ann Glaskin, Postgraduate Studies in Conservation Medicine, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University email@example.com or (+ 61 8) 9360 2640.
*Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biodiversity Planning and Policy (one year full-time, renewable) – In partnership with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), the University of KwaZulu Natal seeks one postdoctoral fellow to join an interdisciplinary research programme on biodiversity conservation and land-use planning. The research should focus on understanding the linkages between biodiversity science and conservation planning tools in South Africa. Several conservation planning initiatives have taken place in South Africa in the last decade, with more underway, in many cases with close links to the policy environment. However, little of this work has been documented in the literature. This provides a unique opportunity to document the scientific process and to reflect on lessons learned. The outcomes of the research should be directly relevant to SANBI, and will be guided by a reference group that includes SANBI staff. Qualified PhD graduates with a background in either the science-policy interface, transdisciplinary research, conservation planning, ecology and/or conservation biology are encouraged to apply. To apply, submit a comprehensive CV (including list of publications) and a motivation letter to Professor M. Rouget firstname.lastname@example.org. Closing date for application: 31 August 2014. For more information about available fellowships and research programmes, please contact Professor M. Rouget at email@example.com.
"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 & Shirley