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AHEAD Update – Special Edition –
Breakthrough for African Farmers and African Wildlife

Changes to International Regulatory Standards Regarding Foot and Mouth Disease Adopted at OIE World Assembly in Paris

New Policy Flexibility Means Poorest Livestock Farmers No Longer Excluded from Global Beef Markets and Environmentally Devastating Veterinary Fencing is No Longer the Only Option for Managing Foot and Mouth Disease in Southern Africa


With newly accepted revisions to the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code, we’ve reached a critical turning point in regards to resolving the more than half century-old conflict between (a) international beef trade policy based on foot and mouth disease control fencing in the southern African context and (b) the migratory needs of free-ranging wildlife in the region and beyond.

On May 27th 2015, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), which provides standards for its 180 member countries related to international trade in commodities (including beef) that are a potential source of animal disease agents, updated the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code and made it possible for African countries with wild species like buffalo that naturally harbor foot and mouth disease (FMD) viruses to be able to trade beef without necessarily requiring the physical separation of wildlife and livestock through the extensive veterinary cordon fencing that has characterized animal disease management in southern Africa since the colonial era. While there is now much to be done to make new quarantine-based value chain approaches to beef production a routine option (see new AHEAD guidelines flagged in the previous AHEAD Update
http://www.wcs-ahead.org/kaza/150313_guidelines_report_value_chain_final.pdf
), this policy change offers the unprecedented possibility of access to new beef markets for southern African farmers and pastoralists as well as unlocks the potential for restoring migratory movements of wildlife and thus enhancing prospects for long-term wildlife population viability within individual countries as well as in transboundary landscapes like the KAZA transfrontier conservation area. This new flexibility represents a true 'win-win' for sustainable and diversified land use and livelihoods, even in the face of some of the uncertainties related to regional climate change models.

New markets for beef within Africa itself and in Asia – and, ideally, more diversified beef products – likely merit increased attention. A recent piece from the Botswana newspaper Mmegi (http://www.mmegi.bw/index.php?aid=51336&dir=2015/may/22), written just before the decision at OIE in Paris, points out just how significant this policy change is for the subregion's people and wildlife.

To be clear, this is not about "removing all fences," but this new, more flexible policy paradigm represents a vitally important opportunity for the wildlife and livestock sectors to work together on collaborative land-use planning, knowing that there is now the option to realign or remove specific fences impacting important wildlife habitat corridors – since beef export market access can be attained utilizing new meat-processing value chain-based approaches, regardless of whether buffalo or other wildlife live in or near a particular locality or not.

Of course with great opportunity, comes great responsibility. A collective investment in earnest stewardship of natural resources, with an eye towards our children’s children, must be made by all sectoral stakeholders dependent on southern Africa’s precious land-base. There is now, for the first time in several generations, an opportunity to find ways to optimize land-use choices in the interest of system resilience and diversified livelihood opportunities. Neither the livestock nor wildlife sectors should seek to dominate the other. Instead, it is time to make land-use decisions that will be socially, ecologically and economically sustainable for generations to come.

There is of course still much to do, and on-the-ground change takes time and concerted collaborative effort. AHEAD’s focus in our next phase of ongoing work with southern African partners includes further sensitization of key local, national and regional entities (in both the livestock and wildlife sectors, et al.) as to the significance of this landmark change in international beef trade standards. We also envision the need for critical pilot work through public-private partnerships involving local communities, with all stakeholders motivated and encouraged by the fact that we are closer to reconciling FMD-related conflict at the livestock / wildlife interface than we've ever been before.


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.

Sincerely,

Steve


Steve Osofsky, DVM
Wildlife Conservation Society
Executive Director,
Wildlife Health & Health Policy
WCS AHEAD Coordinator
sosofsky@wcs.org
ph/fax: 1-703-716-1029

Shirley Atkinson, MSc
Wildlife Conservation Society
Assistant Director,
Wildlife Health & Health Policy
satkinson@wcs.org
ph: 1-775-843-8498

www.wcs-ahead.org

Please see the News Archives page for previous AHEAD Updates.

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Beauty and the Beef
PDF:
"Beyond Fences: Policy Options for Biodiversity, Livelihoods & Transboundary Animal Disease Management in Southern Africa"
beyond fences
Click cover to view.
For options to download PDF,
right-click or control-click.
PDF:
"Para Alem Fronteiras:
de Política para a Biodiversidade, Meios de Subsistência e Gestão de Doenças Transfronteiriças dos Animais na África Austral"
beyond fences
Clique na página para visualizar. Para opção de descarregar o PDF, clique no botão direito do rato ou faça control-click.
PDF:
"As the Fences Come Down:
Emerging Concerns
in Transfrontier
Conservation Areas"
fences
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right-click or control-click.
PDF:
"À Medida que as Vedações Caem: Preocupações Emergentes em Áreas de Conservação Transfronteiriças"
fences
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AHEAD Book
AHEAD book
Osofsky, S.A., Cleaveland, S., Karesh, W.B., Kock, M.D., Nyhus, P.J., Starr, L., and A. Yang, (eds.). 2005. Conservation and Development Interventions at the Wildlife/Livestock Interface: Implications for Wildlife, Livestock and Human Health. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. xxxiii and 220 pp.

Downloadable PDFs of whole book/each section available by visiting the AHEAD Launch Proceedings page. Hard copies can be ordered by e-mailing books@iucn.org
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What is AHEAD?

Animal & Human Health for the Environment And Development was launched by WCS and a consortium of organizations six years ago 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 socioeconomic and environmental context.

In short, AHEAD recognizes the importance of animal and human health to both conservation and development interests. Around the world, domestic and wild animals are coming into ever-more-intimate contact, and without adequate scientific knowledge and planning, the consequences can be detrimental on one or both sides of the proverbial fence. But armed with the tools that the health sciences provide, conservation and development objectives have a much greater chance of being realized – particularly at the critical wildlife/livestock interface, where conservation and agricultural interests meet head-on. AHEAD efforts focus on several themes of critical importance to the future of animal agriculture, human health, and wildlife health (including zoonoses, competition over grazing and water resources, disease mitigation, local and global food security, and other potential sources of conflict related to land-use decision-making in the face of resource limitations). Historically, neither governments, nongovernmental organizations, the aid community, nor academia have holistically addressed the landscape-level nexus represented by the triangle of wildlife health, domestic animal health, and human health and livelihoods as underpinned by environmental stewardship.

 

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