AHEAD Update – January 2009

*I should again note that if you wish to be removed from this e-mail list please just let me know. My hope is to keep parties interested in Animal Health for the Environment And Development up-to-date on relevant developments, but I certainly understand if anyone wants to opt out of receiving such messages. Updates are also posted (and archived) on the AHEAD website at www.wcs-ahead.org, which also features a new AHEAD Update 'sign-up' feature on the home page. 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 me- thanks! And here's to 2009 treating you and your programs well!


At a time characterized by pervasive economic as well as ecologic uncertainty, it may seem difficult to stay focused on the important work many if not most of you receiving this Update do. Certainly those of us working on environmental issues feel more vulnerable than ever in terms of potentially losing the limited traction we've managed to obtain with world leaders, and with society at large. But of course in times like these, our collective efforts are more pressing than ever. The intimately linked challenges facing sustainable development, poverty alleviation, food security, health, and environmental conservation require more attention now than they did even 6 months ago. We must continue to work together to find the resources to accomplish the work we all know must be done, on a set of issues that we know persist in times of economic boom as well as crisis, but are admittedly exacerbated when markets and governments stumble. In this issue of the AHEAD Update, I report on some remarkable funding commitments by the Gates Foundation, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and Google.org to institutions and efforts that I believe are very relevant to our collective long-term goals (see RELEVANT FUNDING SUCCESSES below). In short, even now, there is some surprisingly good news that I believe has been catalyzed by our proximity to an encouraging and exciting societal 'tipping point' toward 'One Health' thinking.


*AHEAD Great Limpopo TFCA Working Group speakers present 'lessons learned' at October, 2008 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Nicky Shongwe, MD (AHEAD GLTFCA Working Group Regional Coordinator) and Mike Kock, BVSc, MPVM (WCS Regional Field Veterinarian for Southern Africa) both gave well-received presentations in the WCS-sponsored One World – One Health™ session. Topics ranged from the value of building social capital in facilitating meaningful change, to the realities of climate change and its anticipated impacts on human and animal health at the landscape scale. Click here to access downloadable PDFs of the presentations from the "One World – One Health™: A Paradigm for Achieving Conservation through Global Health" session - search for "109" - which was the event number (scroll down to Wednesday 8th, October 2008 once you've done the search).

*Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Forum: "Achieving Compatibility between the Transfrontier Conservation Area Concept and International Standards for the Management of Transboundary Animal Diseases." Innovative approaches to controlling disease risks associated with commercial meat trade could significantly enhance compatibility between livestock agriculture and wildlife conservation: this was the message which came out of this SADC forum held in Kasane, Botswana from November 11th to 14th, 2008. The workshop was organised by the European Commission-funded SADC Foot and Mouth Disease Project, and funded by the EU and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Expertise was provided by a diverse range of public and private sector delegates representing the majority of SADC member countries [Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe], the SADC Secretariat, the European Commission, the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) TFCA Secretariat, and international organisations such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Animal Health for the Environment And Development (AHEAD), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the Wilderness Foundation, and the USAID/Okavango Integrated River Basin Management Project. The workshop addressed the fact that transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs) bring with them major advantages for wildlife conservation and biodiversity yet also present serious challenges in the context of disease transmission between domesticated and wild animals, challenges that in a given country can potentially impact the livestock sector's international market access. The workshop delegates agreed to endorse the concept of Commodity-based Trade (CBT), which could enable trade in livestock and wildlife products to proceed safely while effectively delinking trade from area-wide disease status- potentially reducing the need for some of the fences that currently preclude the connectivity required for TFCA success. Several AHEAD collaborators gave presentations, and the AHEAD approach for convening TFCA stakeholders to address 'One Health' challenges emerged as one of the top 10 strategies for TFCA success endorsed by attendees going forward. In addition, several AHEAD products were provided to the delegates, including the 2008 "As the Fences Come Down: Emerging Concerns in Transfrontier Conservation Areas" and the 2005 book, Conservation and Development Interventions at the Wildlife/Livestock Interface: Implications for Wildlife, Livestock and Human Health. For further information, contact Gavin Thomson gthomson@sadc.int.


*Simply Stunning Grant (SSG!) to the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed)! - GALVmed (http://www.galvmed.org/news/news15.php) has received $28 million over 3 years to combat disease in African livestock, with a focus on securing the livelihoods of some of the world's poorest farmers. Currently, an estimated one-quarter of all livestock in the developing world die from preventable diseases each year. The grant was given to GALVmed, a non-profit UK agency, by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development. The first disease to be tackled is East Coast fever, which costs Africa $200 million every year. "African governments used to make a vaccine," says GALVmed Chief Executive Steve Sloan, "but this stopped when many state veterinary services were dismantled during the 1990s debt crisis. GALVmed hopes to launch vaccines or drugs for six major livestock diseases by 2015. The list includes Rift Valley fever, which killed thousands of animals and hundreds of people in an outbreak in 2007, and is now spreading out of Africa." Note that AHEAD approached GALVmed to begin exploring potential collaborative opportunities years before GALVmed hit the proverbial jackpot!

*Google.org's Predict and Prevent initiative announces first tranche of $500,000 to support a new regional disease surveillance network called the Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS). SACIDS is a new regional network embracing the concept of 'One Health' right from the start by linking 25 human and animal health institutions in Tanzania, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and South Africa. Over time, it hopes to include other countries from the SADC region. The SACIDS concept sprang from a Foresight study called "Infectious Diseases: Preparing for the Future" involving more than 400 scientists. Its mission is to harness innovation in science and technology in order to improve southern Africa's capacity to detect, identify and monitor infectious diseases of humans, animals and plants. By sharing data, experience, training, and tools, the countries participating in SACIDS can raise the quality of disease surveillance for the entire region. With rising international travel and trade, outbreaks can go global within hours. Once diseases are detected, responding quickly and across borders saves lives and livelihoods. "Too often, countries work in isolation, ignoring their neighbors, while diseases cross borders daily. We are thrilled that this effort will increase local cooperation and capacity," said Professor Mark Rweyemamu mark.rweyemamu@btinternet.com, the Executive Director of SACIDS, which will be physically headquartered at the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania. Google.org will support the establishment of the SACIDS network through an initial $500,000 grant to the Nuclear Threat Initiative's Global Health and Security Initiative (GHSI). GHSI's Director for Health Security and Epidemiology, Dr. Louise Gresham, notes "We look forward to applying our expertise in developing regional surveillance networks, a keystone in building capacity to combat emerging, neglected and endemic disease in southern Africa." GHSI will share extensive experience working with regional networks in the Middle East (the Middle East Consortium on Infectious Disease Surveillance) and Southeast Asia (the Mekong Basin Disease Surveillance Network). In a second phase of the project, Google.org will make an additional contribution of $1,500,000 to African stakeholders working with SACIDS. AHEAD and SACIDS have been sharing information over the past year, and linkages between SACIDS efforts and, for example, those of the AHEAD Great Limpopo TFCA Working Group (involving Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe) are under active development.


*AHEAD Great Limpopo TFCA Seed Grant Projects- abstracts (including contact information for project leaders) for all ten winning projects are now viewable online. Please see http://www.wcs-ahead.org/gltfca_grants/grants.html.

*The Governance of Nature and the Nature of Governance: Policy that Works for Biodiversity and Livelihoods, By Krystyna Swiderska with Dilys Roe, Linda Siegele, and Maryanne Grieg-Gran. Ecosystem services have been disturbed to such an extent that, unless remedial action is taken urgently, reaching both the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) target of slowing biodiversity loss by 2010 and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 will likely prove impossible. This 173 pp. report looks at the reasons behind this crisis, pinpointing governance as the crucial factor to get right. Free download of PDF at http://www.iied.org/pubs/pdfs/14564IIED.pdf.

*Human Health and Forests: A Global Overview of Issues, Practice and Policy, Edited by Carol J. Pierce Colfer. Hundreds of millions of people live and work in forests across the world. One vital aspect of their lives, largely unexamined, is the challenge of protecting and enhancing the unique relationship between the health of forests and the health of people. This book, written for a broad audience, is a comprehensive introduction to the issues surrounding the health of people living in and around forests, particularly in Asia, South America and Africa. Part I is a set of synthesis chapters, addressing policy, public health, environmental conservation and ecological perspectives on health and forests (including women's and children's health, medicinal plants, and viral diseases such as Ebola, SARS and Nipah encephalitis). Part II features case studies from around the world that cover important issues such as the links between HIV/AIDS and the forest sector, and between diet and health. Part III looks at the specific challenges to health care delivery in forested areas, including remoteness and the integration of traditional medicine with modern health care. The book concludes with a synthesis designed for use by practitioners and policymakers to work with forest dwellers to improve their health and that of their ecosystems. For more information, see http://www.earthscan.co.uk/?tabid=1487If you are working on related issues in a developing country, CIFOR may be able to provide you with a book at significantly reduced cost. Reduced-cost supplies are limited: please contact Rahayu Koesnadi for details R.koesnadi@cgiar.org. And mention you read about the book in the AHEAD Update!

*Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution, Edited by Saleem H. Ali with a foreword by Julia Marton-Lefevre. Although the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Kenyan environmentalist and social activist Wangari Maathai, few have considered whether environmental conservation can contribute to peace-building in conflict zones. Peace Parks explores this question, examining the ways in which environmental cooperation in multi-jurisdictional conservation areas may help resolve political and territorial conflicts. Its analyses and case studies of transboundary peace parks focus on how the sharing of physical space and management responsibilities can build and sustain peace among countries. The book examines the roles played by governments, the military, civil society, scientists, and conservationists, and their effects on both ecological management and the potential for peace-building in these areas. Following a historical and theoretical overview that explores economic, political, and social theories that support the concept of peace parks, as well as discussion of bioregional management for strengthening science and economic development, the book presents case studies of existing parks and proposals for future parks. After describing such real-life examples as the Selous-Niassa Wildlife Corridor in Africa and the Emerald Triangle conservation zone in Indochina, the book looks to the future, exploring the peace-building potential of envisioned parks in security-intensive spots including the U.S.-Mexican border, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, and the Mesopotamian marshlands between Iraq and Iran. With contributors from a variety of disciplines and diverse geographic regions, Peace Parks is a valuable resource for policy makers and environmentalists. See http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=11250 for more information.

*New One World – One Health™ Strategic Framework, "Contributing to One World, One Health: A Strategic Framework for Reducing Risks of Infectious Diseases at the Animal–Human–Ecosystems Interface" adopted by WHO, OIE, FAO, UNICEF, the World Bank, et al. Humanity faces many challenges that require global solutions. One of these challenges is the spread of infectious diseases that emerge (or re-emerge) from the interfaces among animals and humans and the ecosystems in which they live. This is a result of several trends, including the exponential growth in human and livestock populations, rapid urbanization, rapidly changing farming systems, closer interactions between livestock and wildlife, forest encroachment, modifications of ecosystems, and globalization of trade in animals and animal products. See http://un-influenza.org/node/2341/ for details and downloadable PDFs available in several languages.

*Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) e-News subscriptions available (free!)- Sign-up at http://www.itswild.org/newsletter/subscribe. The Wildlife Conservation Society has made a long-term commitment to understanding the challenges of reconciling human needs and addressing conflicts around protected areas in Zambia's Luangwa Valley. COMACO is a growing land reform movement, working mostly with farmers around Zambia’s national parks to reduce their impact on trees, soils and wildlife. While securing a future for wildlife, COMACO provides security for people’s food and income needs through market-driven alternatives to poaching, unnecessary tree cutting, wasteful loss of soils, and over-fishing of rivers. In just over five years and with support from the World Food Program, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, USAID and other partners, COMACO has demonstrated the important linkages between improved levels of food security and income for over 40,000 families, and the voluntary reduction in illegal hunting and snaring of wildlife.  WCS believes COMACO represents an important contribution to future strategies for conserving wildlife and wild places in many parts of Africa and has created a specific website, http://www.itswild.org, to share information about this program and its operations. COMACO and AHEAD are currently collaborating, for example, with the International Rural Poultry Center (IRPC) of the KYEEMA Foundation and Cornell University to improve village poultry health to contribute to food security while simultaneously diminishing demand for illegal game meat.


*Next (9th) AHEAD Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area Working Group Meeting-  March 4th, 5th, 6th, 2009. Please note that this will be a 2 & ½ day meeting, so we look forward to a variety of presentations, extended interaction and a lively learning experience furthering collaborative efforts in the region. Attendees will need to arrive on March 3rd for the 8AM start on the 4th. We expect to finish at lunchtime on March 6th. Mozambique has very kindly offered to host this meeting. We are planning to hold it in Namaacha, about 1 hour by road from Maputo. More details will be sent to the AHEAD GLTFCA Working Group e-list, as the draft agenda is further developed. If you would like to present a talk, please contact Nicky Shongwe nickysh@sanparks.org and Steve Osofsky sosofsky@wcs.org as soon as possible. Details on the AHEAD Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area Working Group are available at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/workinggrps_limpopo.html.

*Envirovet Summer Institute- June 16th - August 10th, 2009. Envirovet is 7-week immersion-style summer course for veterinarians and veterinary students from around the world aimed at educating, informing, engaging and inspiring animal health professionals of all backgrounds and nationalities to become integral members of teams protecting animal, human and ecosystem health.  The course is led by Dr. Val Beasley, DVM, PhD (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) in close collaboration with the University of California, Davis Wildlife Health Center; key partners include White Oak Plantation and Conservation Center, St. Catherines Island Foundation, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania), and Tanzania National Parks. This past year's class was comprised of 27 students from eight countries:  the United States (17); Canada (1); Sri Lanka (3); India (1); Uganda (1); Nigeria (1); Tanzania (2); and Mexico (1). Students gained knowledge and skills in a variety of subjects, including (but not limited to): biodiversity; climate change; terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem health; wildlife immobilization; endangered species reproduction; disease at the wildlife/livestock interface; grantsmanship; media training; zoonoses; epidemiology and population modeling; public health; ecological economics; and protected areas management. Having trained more than 400 veterinarians from more than 40 nations to date in the 'One Health' approach, this almost 20-year-old program is entering a new phase in its development, transitioning to independent non-profit status and seeking new partners to ensure long-term sustainability of the program. Those interested in enrolling in the 2009 course or in partnering with the organization are encouraged to contact Dr. Val Beasley val@illinois.edu or Dr. Kirsten Gilardi kvgilardi@ucdavis.edu as soon as possible. This year's course runs June 16th - August 10th, 2009. Applications must be in by February 1, 2009. To learn more about the program and locate application materials, please visit Envirovet's website: http://www.cvm.uiuc.edu/envirovet/index.html.

*The 12th International Symposium on Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics (ISVEE)- August 10-14, 2009 at the International Convention Centre in Durban, South Africa. ISVEE is the premier international congress linking veterinary epidemiology and economics, and has been held every three years since 1976. This will be only the second time that the meeting has been held in Africa (the first was in Nairobi, Kenya in 1994). Please consider taking advantage of the geographical setting of the meeting to facilitate strong participation from developing countries, particularly those in Africa. ISVEE hopes to bring together veterinary and medical epidemiologists, economists, and associated professions to address common themes and challenges, with special emphasis on facilitating decision making on animal health issues in the developing world. Please note that "Zoonoses and Emerging Diseases" and "Wildlife Diseases and the Wildlife/ Livestock/ Human Interface" are two of the ten key conference themes. Abstracts are invited for oral or poster presentations on any topic relating to epidemiology or economics, and submissions should be aligned with one of the ten key conference themes. For details, see the ISVEE web site: http://www.isvee.co.za/The deadline for abstract submission is January 30, 2009, with notification of acceptance by 31 March 2009. For more information, please contact Vernon Ndlovu vernon@confcall.co.za or Ferran Jori ferran.jori@cirad.fr.


*University of Cape Town- Conservation Biology MSc course. The course organizers now have an updated course handbook available through the class web site at http://www.fitzpatrick.uct.ac.za/docs/conshand.html. Please circulate the handbook or this link to colleagues and students whom you think might be interested. UCT wants to continue to attract excellent applicants in order to keep building a vigorous, diverse, energetic network of young African conservation biologists. For further information, please contact Dr. Phoebe Barnard, Birds & Environmental Change Partnership, Climate Change & Bioadaptation Division, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch Research Centre, P/Bag X7, Claremont 7735, Cape Town, South Africa barnard@sanbi.org; Tel. +27 21 799 8722 (direct) or -8800; Fax  +21 21 799 8705; Mobile +27 83 562 8238


*AHEAD website gets a facelift- please take a moment to visit the revamped http://www.wcs-ahead.org, and the range of resources available.

*Quite a few 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 National Zoological Gardens of South Africa; Competing Claims on Natural Resources Program; Endangered Wildlife Trust; Wageningen University - Plant Production Systems Group; Envirovet; ResourceAfrica; the Government of Mozambique TFCA Coordination Unit; the University of Florida, Center for African Studies; and the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria - all very important collaborating institutions / programs.

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

"What is AHEAD?" Animal Health for the Environment And Development was launched just over five 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.

All the best,