AHEAD Update – January/February 2010

Dear AHEAD Colleagues:

* Welcome to the first AHEAD Update of 2010. Please note that URL hotlinks for many of the organizations mentioned below can be found at:
 http://www.wcs-ahead.org/links.html. News on potential funding opportunities appears towards the end of this Update.

If you would like to post an item in the next AHEAD Update, please just send it to us – thanks!


“Emerging Diseases and a New Era of Funding: On Coordination, and ‘Upstream’ vs. ‘Downstream’ Investments” –

Over the next 5 years, more than US $400,000,000* is likely to be made available worldwide for enhancing emerging disease surveillance, largely at the animal / human interface. These are extraordinary, unprecedented sums- especially for those of us who work in this realm from a veterinary perspective. There are two primary questions that we and the donors behind these initiatives must ask ourselves:

*Can we coordinate these initiatives to finally develop data collection and management standards and common platforms to enhance a truly global approach to surveillance and the timely sharing of vital information? (Will robust, compatible systems be in place around the world once this funding is expended?)

*Are we investing enough “upstream,” addressing the human behaviors and activities that enhance the likelihood of and in fact drive disease emergence, versus the more “downstream” surveillance investments that, while clearly important, are undertaken at the point on the continuum where pathogens are already on the verge of jumping or have already jumped into people? (Are we doing enough to make sure concomitant, “preventative” investments in environmental stewardship are being made?)

(* figures tabulated from the public domain in regards to programs recently funded via grants / cooperative agreements by: Wellcome Trust, USAID, JICA, UK MRC/NERC/ESRC/BBSRC, EU, US CDC, and Google.org. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of relevant expenditures / programs, and the $400 million figure also does not account for funds used by governments themselves for emerging disease work.)


*Wildlife Conservation, Health and Disease Management – A Post Millennium Approach, February 3-5, 2010 in Chennai, India – "On behalf of the Department of Wildlife Science, Madras Veterinary College, Chennai and Dean, Faculty of Basic Sciences, Tamil Nadu Veterinary & Animal Sciences University, we wish to extend you a cordial invitation to participate in this conference taking place at Madras Veterinary College, Chennai, India. Our aim is to foster an exchange of ideas between wildlife scientists, practitioners and postgraduate students from different disciplines interested in both wild and captive animals. We are expecting stimulating and thought-provoking discussions with participation from several international and national speakers. A continuing veterinary education program and workshops on immobilization and wildlife necropsy are being organized. We are looking forward to meeting you at the conference.” For further details see http://www.tanuvas.ac.in or contact Sridhar Ramaswamy at sri_ramaswamy@yahoo.com

*2010 (10th) AHEAD Great Limpopo TFCA Working Group Meeting, February 24-26 in Mpumalanga, South Africa – The meeting will be held at the Casa do Sol Hotel & Conference Centre (http://www.allcapeaccommodation.com/casa-do-sol-mpumalanga/index.htm) near Hazyview in Mpumalanga, South Africa – not far from Nelspruit and Kruger's Phabeni and Numbi Gates. We are almost out of space, so please try and book soon if you’d like to attend! This is approximately a 3 hour drive from Maputo and 30 minutes from KMIA (Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport). We chose this location in an attempt to try a new venue that is relatively accessible to many of the Working Group's members via various modes of transport. A draft agenda has been circulated to the Working Group, and is also available upon request. Most attendees will need to arrive by the evening of Tuesday February 23rd for a 9:00AM start on Wednesday the 24th. The meeting will be 2 ½ days- we expect to close at lunchtime on the 26th. We are trying a new format this year, with invited speakers contributing to a special interdisciplinary symposium on Day 1. AHEAD Great Limpopo TFCA Seed Grantees will also be presenting on their accomplishments for the past year at this February meeting. There are still slots available for the poster session, so please consider that as an option for sharing your work. For booking information, please contact Merle Whyte at merle@mpu.co.za as soon as possible to arrange your lodging and any ground transfers from the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport that you may need. Merle can also provide directions for those driving. Special thanks to the Rockefeller Foundation for supporting this critical tri-national forum. For more information on the AHEAD Great Limpopo TFCA Working Group, please see http://www.wcs-ahead.org/workinggrps_limpopo.html.

*Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers: Special Session on “Debating the Theory, Practice & Impact of Transfrontier Conservation,” April 14-18, 2010, Washington, D.C. – "The last decade has witnessed the resurgence of the ecosystem approach and the consequent commitment to transfrontier conservation by states, non-governmental organizations, philanthropists, and investors. Often rallying around claims that ‘nature knows no boundaries,’ proponents suggest that transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs) have the potential to protect biodiversity and enable ecological restoration and equally promote economic development, community upliftment, and political goodwill among participating states. While critics remain unconvinced of these promises, they agree with TFCA supporters that, as these initiatives move from the pages of planning documents to the stage of implementation, they profoundly alter not only physical terrain but also political, social, cultural, and economic landscapes. Papers have been requested that examine transfrontier conservation along the following topics:

     * TFCAs and state formation / state sovereignty
     * Transfrontier conservation and regional integration
     * TFCAs and local communities; community-based conservation; ‘fortress’            conservation
     * Implications of transfrontier conservation for nationalism and nation-building
     * TFCAs and the transformation of borders and borderlands
     * Ecological corridors and TFCAs
     * TFCAs and regimes of international development
     * The history of transfrontier conservation thought and practice
     * The neoliberalization of transfrontier conservation
     * NGOs and transfrontier conservation"

For information, please see http://www.aag.org/annualmeetings/2010/index.htm
or contact Elizabeth Lunstrum lunstrum@yorku.ca and Maano Ramutsindela Maano.Ramutsindela@uct.ac.za.


*Changes in AHEAD Great Limpopo TFCA Coordination – SANParks is reorganizing the coordination of the AHEAD Great Limpopo TFCA initiative as Dr. Nicky Shongwe leaves SANParks for new opportunities. A team of SANParks natural and social scientists, including Drs. Markus Hofmeyr and Harry Biggs, will work together to build upon the momentum AHEAD Great Limpopo has helped generate among tri-national stakeholders committed to addressing challenges at the wildlife / livestock / human health interface in the GLTFCA context. We wish Nicky all the best on her new endeavors. See above for details on the upcoming (February) AHEAD Great Limpopo TFCA Working Group meeting.

*AHEAD Coordinator hired in support of Kavango-Zambezi TFCA initiative, to work from U.S. base in Year 1 – Dr. Mark Atkinson joins the Wildlife Conservation Society as AHEAD Coordinator for the Kavango-Zambezi as of January 4th, supported through the new five-year USAID-funded SCAPES Program. As suggested during our ongoing planning discussions with KAZA governmental partners, we will utilize Year 1, in part, to evaluate which of the five KAZA TFCA countries (Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe) would be most suitable for an in-region AHEAD KAZA base. Dr. Atkinson will thus be based in the U.S. for Year 1, with prolonged consultative travel in the region (several months at a time) in between short visits back to the U.S.   By the end of Year 1, we will have assessed the best regional deployment strategy for Mark as of Year 2, in collaboration with regional partners. A draft Year 1 AHEAD KAZA Work Plan is available upon request and will be posted at:
http://www.wcs-ahead.org/workinggrps_kaza.html shortly.

Dr. Mark Atkinson has participated in a wide variety of field conservation programs in southern Africa, Asia and North America. Mark began his career in private practice in western Zimbabwe, later joining the Wildlife Unit of the Veterinary Research Laboratory to investigate diseases of wildlife and livestock, undertake wildlife capture and translocation work, and provide veterinary input into disease management on private ranches and conservancy land. During this period he also became intimately involved in rhinoceros and elephant conservation issues in southern Africa, and transferred to Zimbabwe's Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management to focus his work on these species. Mark subsequently left Zimbabwe for the U.S. as part of the Zimbabwean diaspora, and worked within the U.S. zoological community. He was able to continue working on global conservation issues, partnering with NGOs, local veterinarians and conservation groups in North America, southern Africa and Nepal. Dr. Atkinson then joined the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks where, as the wildlife veterinarian, he worked extensively throughout the state and the Greater Yellowstone Area on management and disease issues impacting wildlife, livestock and people. Mark subsequently moved to Nevada to establish a veterinary program for the Department of Wildlife, and later became the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s Game Division Administrator. He can be reached at matkinson@wcs.org.


*“A ‘One Health’ Approach to Address Emerging Zoonoses: The HALI Project in Tanzania” – Mazet JAK, Clifford DL, Coppolillo PB, Deolalikar AB, Erickson JD, Kazwala RR. 2009, PLoS Med 6(12): e1000190. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000190

In PLoS Medicine, Jonna Mazet (University of California, Davis) and colleagues describe their work in the Tanzania-based HALI Project, which adopts the "One Health" approach to address emerging zoonoses, recognizing the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health. There is a strong need for integrated health approaches, the authors argue, because explosive human population growth and environmental changes have resulted in increased numbers of people living in close contact with wild and domestic animals. "Integrated policy interventions that simultaneously and holistically address multiple and interacting causes of poor human health- unsafe and scarce water, lack of sanitation, food insecurity, and close proximity between animals and humans- will yield significantly larger health benefits than policies that target each of these factors individually and in isolation,'' the authors say. See http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info
 for the complete paper.

*MEASURE Evaluation is pleased to announce the completion of the Population, Health and Environment Training Toolkit – ”The toolkit can be accessed online at http://www.cpc.unc.edu/measure/phe-training. This training toolkit aims to increase the M&E capacity, skills and knowledge of those who plan, implement, and evaluate innovative, multi-sector programs in low-resource settings. We look forward to hearing about your experience using and adapting these materials. Please send us your feedback from the field at http://cpc.unc.edu/measure/feedback. MEASURE Evaluation is the USAID Global Health Bureau's primary vehicle for supporting improvements in monitoring and evaluation in population, health and nutrition worldwide.”

*New textbook explores links between biodiversity, ecosystems and human wellbeing – This graduate level textbook from Oxford University Press, Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning, and Human Wellbeing: An Ecological and Economic Perspective, edited by Shahid Naeem, Daniel E. Bunker, Andy Hector, Michel Loreau, and Charles Perrings incorporates the latest developments in the fields of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. This book is an example of the move among ecologists to consider conservation potential outside of reserves, often in agricultural landscapes. These kinds of ecological analyses are crucial to laying the foundation for future payment for ecosystem services (PES) schemes. See the Oxford University Press website for more details on the book: http://www.oup.com/.

*New piece on mismatches between published science and conservation practice – "Do We Need to Develop a More Relevant Conservation Literature?" Milner-Gulland EJ, Fisher M, Browne S, Redford KH, Spencer M, Sutherland WJ, Oryx, January 2010, vol. 44 (01), pp. 1-2. "We believe that the mismatch between science and practice is a serious constraint to effective conservation. We also feel that the continuing lack of capacity in developing countries to access the scientific literature, either as readers or as authors, is both inequitable and a lost opportunity for global science. As journal editors and publisher we control communication through peer-reviewed conservation science and we bear a responsibility to act to improve this situation.” See http://journals.cambridge.org/action/
for the actual editorial. For more information, contact Kent Redford kredford@wcs.org.

*New paper on cattle movements and the spread of trypanosomiasis – "Spatial Predictions of Rhodesian Human African Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness) Prevalence in Kaberamaido and Dokolo, Two Newly Affected Districts of Uganda." Batchelor NA, Atkinson PM, Gething PW, Picozzi K, Fèvre EM, Kakembo ASL, Welburn SC. 2009. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 3(12): e563. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000563

"Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) or sleeping sickness is a parasitic disease of humans, transmitted by the tsetse fly. There are two different forms of HAT: Rhodesian (in eastern sub-Saharan Africa), which also affects wild and domestic animals, and Gambian (in western and central sub-Saharan Africa). Diagnosis and treatment of the two diseases differ, and disease characterisation is based on prior knowledge of known geographical disease distributions. Presently, the two forms of HAT do not overlap in any area: Uganda is the only country which sustains active transmission of both types.

In recent years, Rhodesian HAT has spread into areas of Uganda that had not previously been affected, thus narrowing the gap between areas of Rhodesian and Gambian HAT transmission. This spread has raised concerns of a potential overlap of the two types of the disease, which would severely complicate their diagnosis and treatment. Earlier work indicated that Rhodesian HAT was introduced to Soroti district due to the movement of untreated cattle from affected areas. Here we show that the continued spread of HAT in Uganda (to a further 2 districts) may also have occurred due to cattle movements, despite legal requirements to treat livestock from affected areas prior to sale at markets. These findings can assist in the targeting of HAT control efforts in Uganda and show that the stringent implementation of animal treatments at livestock markets should be a priority."

See http://www.plosntds.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2F

for the complete paper.


*AHEAD on National Public Radio (US) – Visit http://www.wcs-ahead.org/radio.html to hear the 10 minute interview on "AHEAD (Animal & Human Health for the Environment And Development) in Southern Africa."


* "Afrique One" Postdoctoral Fellowships in Ecosystem and Population Health from the African Research Consortium for Ecosystem and Population Health – Funds available to appoint eleven post-doctoral research scientists to its prestigious 4-year fellowship program. The consortium comprises eleven African Universities and Research Institutes in Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, and is funded through The Wellcome Trust's African Institutes Initiative. The fellowship program seeks to support the next generation of African science leaders in the field of ecosystem and population health. We are looking for the very best post-doctoral scientists to develop independent sustainable science programs in each of the consortium's core institutions. Fellowships come with competitive salaries and substantial research support budgets that include graduate studentships, technician salaries, travel funds, and consumables. All areas of science that fall within an Ecosystem and Population Health remit may be supported but successful applicants must be able to demonstrate a long-term commitment to leading and developing science programs relevant to their countries research needs, and that enhance existing research activities in their chosen institutions. Applications should be made to individual participating institutions, and should comprise: a full CV, 3 letters of reference, and a 4000 word outline of their research plan. The deadline for applications is February 1st 2010. Late submission will be considered in the event that positions are not filled. Applicants must be able to take up the position by September 1st 2010. Full details, including individuals to contact, are available at www.afriqueone.net.

*The Department for International Development (DFID), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) are pleased to announce £40·5m for the Ecosystems Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) Research Programme – "This partnership combines £27m of DFID's development research funding together with £13·5m of UK research council funding. This unique partnership will deliver research that is both developmentally relevant and scientifically excellent. ESPA aims to deliver high quality and cutting-edge research that will improve our understanding of ecosystems in terms of the services they provide for poverty reduction and inclusive growth processes. It will provide the evidence and tools to enable decision makers and end users to manage ecosystems sustainably and in a way that contributes to poverty reduction. DFID, NERC and ESRC have come together under the Living With Environmental Change partnership, and ESPA presents a unique opportunity to build a strong link between the natural, social and economic sciences and international development. The two-year process to design the programme and strengthen research capacity is completed and full details of the ESPA scope and implementation plan have been ratified by all the partners in the below ESPA Programme Memorandum document.” For further details, see http://www.nerc.ac.uk/research/programmes/espa/events/newfunds.asp

*LifeWeb- major funding for protected areas – LifeWeb is an initiative of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to strengthen the creation and management of new and existing protected areas as a powerful tool to address the climate crisis, sustain livelihoods and conserve biodiversity. LifeWeb supports implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Programme of Work on Protected Areas: http://www.cbd.int/protected/pow.shtml.

LifeWeb helps achieve this goal by:
Supporting donor decision-making with a user-friendly on-line clearing house of funding priorities.
Facilitating funding matches between donors and recipients.
Enabling complementary funding leverage opportunities among donors.
Inspiring and recognising donor support.
See http://www.cbd.int/lifeweb/ for further details on this exciting resource in support of protected areas. The preliminary Project Expression of Interest form is at http://www.cbd.int/lifeweb/projectprofile

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

"What is AHEAD?" Animal & Human Health for the Environment And Development was launched 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 environmental and socioeconomic context.

All the best,