AHEAD Update – April / May / June 2014

*Welcome to the second 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.


Is an OIE Oversight Stifling Southern African Beef Exports & Transfrontier Conservation?

A long-standing issue associated with foot and mouth disease (FMD) control in southern Africa has been the unintended but nevertheless unfortunate environmental and socioeconomic consequences of the control measures applied. The essential problem is that the principles upon which (a) wildlife conservation and (b) FMD control are based are in conflict; wildlife conservation is reliant on maintaining connectivity between populations while FMD (and other contagious disease) control is based on separation of animals of different health status. This issue has recently been reviewed (Thomson et al., 2013a) and the point made that newly introduced flexibility in international sanitary standards for trade in animal products has gone a long way towards providing a solution to this long-standing conundrum. This is confirmed by Weaver et al. (2013) who point out that that provision of greater flexibility in managing FMD in different locations, such as southern Africa, is essential and compatible with the FAO / OIE Progressive Control Pathway for FMD (PCP-FMD), a tool provided to support the Global FMD Control Strategy. Alternatives to country- and zonal-FMD freedom advanced in the Weaver et al. paper are compartmentalization and commodity-based trade. Specific reference is made to Article 8.6.25 (formerly 8.5.25) of the OIE’s Terrestrial Animal Health Code which enables export of deboned beef from areas not recognized as free from FMD. However, Thomson et al. (2013b) point out that Article 8.6.25 contains a clause (1.d) that renders it impractical in southern Africa because it requires that, for deboned beef to be considered safe in respect of FMD, no FMD should have occurred within a 10 km radius of the establishment(s) from which the cattle are derived within the last 30 days. Bearing in mind that Chapter 8.6 defines FMD as both clinical disease and subclinical infection, the surveillance, including the laboratory-based surveillance needed to fulfill this requirement every 30 days and for all susceptible species of wildlife and livestock in areas where wildlife movement is uncontrolled, represents a logistical and financial impossibility. The fact is therefore that Article 8.6.25 currently contains a ‘killer’ provision– even if that provision was merely an oversight. We hope OIE colleagues will revisit this issue urgently, as getting 8.6.25 right is critical to global equity and the facilitation of broad-based economic development across the SADC region.


Thomson, G.R., Penrith, M.-L., Atkinson, M.W., Atkinson, S.J., Cassidy, D. and S.A. Osofsky, 2013a. Balancing Livestock Production and Wildlife Conservation in and around Southern Africa’s Transfrontier Conservation Areas, Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, 60 (6): 492-506. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tbed.12175

Thomson, G. R., Penrith, M.-L., Atkinson, M. W., Thalwitzer, S., Mancuso, A., Atkinson, S. J. and S. A. Osofsky. 2013b. International Trade Standards for Commodities and Products Derived from Animals: The Need for a System that Integrates Food Safety and Animal Disease Risk Management, Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, 60 (6): 507–515. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tbed.12164

Weaver, G.V., Domenech, J., Thiermann, A.R. and W.B. Karesh, 2013. Foot and Mouth Disease: A Look from the Wild Side, Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 49: 759-785. http://www.jwildlifedis.org/doi/pdf/10.7589/2012-11-276


*'Saving Ngamiland' – new editorial by Professor Roman Grynberg of the Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) – highlights the potential role of commodity-based trade in resolving northern Botswana's beef trade conundrum in the Botswana Gazette (http://www.gazettebw.com/?p=6993) and the Sunday Standard (http://www.sundaystandard.info/article.php?NewsID=19063&GroupID=5). Well worth a read!

*African Veterinary Information Portal (AfriVIP) now live online – In February 2014, the first online veterinary open educational resources platform in Africa – the African Veterinary Information Portal (AfriVIP) – was launched. Project partners include: Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria; Afrivet; World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Collaborating Centre for Training in Integrated Livestock and Wildlife Health and Management; OER Africa; Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium, and Neil Butcher & Associates. AfriVIP has been developed under an open licensing framework as an authoritative and quality-assured portal of information, educational resources, and continuing professional development opportunities for veterinarians, paraveterinary professionals and students. It also provides up-to-date information for the broader public to improve their understanding of animal health and related matters. Please visit http://www.afrivip.org or contact afrivip@up.ac.za for more information.

*New FMD: Southern Africa Bulletin now available online – Volume 4 of the FMD: Southern Africa Bulletin (March 2014) is now available at http://www.afrivip.org/education/livestock/disease-bulletins/fmd-bulletin/2014/materials. This is a 'must read' for those interested in keeping up with regional trends and cutting-edge epidemiological understanding of foot and mouth disease. AfriVIP is now the host for the entire series of the FMD: Southern Africa Bulletin via this webpage.

*New working paper – The Politics of Trypanosomiasis Control in Africa This new working paper by Professor Ian Scoones of the Institute of Development Studies, UK, explores the scientific and policy debates surrounding trypanosomiasis and tsetse control. The paper focuses in particular on Zambia and Zimbabwe where Professor Scoones is undertaking research with the Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium (www.driversofdisease.org), a multidisciplinary research programme exploring the links between ecosystems, poverty and disease. Based on an extensive review of documentary material and interviews with scientists and policymakers, Professor Scoones’ paper offers an assessment of the changing institutional politics associated with tsetse and trypanosomiasis control. It investigates the controversies surrounding different control methods and considers how the focus on particular methods has meant that alternatives have often been overlooked and the perspectives of livestock keepers ignored. In addition, it explores how competition for dwindling research and operational funds, combined with a lack of institutional coordination, has resulted in the failure to develop an integrated approach linking ecological and disease dynamics with socioeconomic conditions. The conclusion discusses why a ‘One Health’ approach is required and why addressing the politics of science and policy is essential. The paper is published in the STEPS Working Paper series, and can be downloaded from the STEPS Centre website

*New paper – Successes and Challenges from Formation to Implementation of Eleven Broad-Extent Conservation Programs (2014), Beever EA, Mattsson BJ, Germino MJ, Post van der Burg M, Bradford JB and Brunson MW. Conservation Biology, doi: 10.1111/cobi.12233 – Integration of conservation partnerships across geographic, biological, and administrative boundaries is increasingly relevant because drivers of change, such as climate shifts, transcend these boundaries. We explored successes and challenges of established conservation programs that span multiple watersheds and consider both social and ecological concerns. We asked representatives from a diverse set of 11 broad-extent conservation partnerships in 29 countries 17 questions that pertained to launching and maintaining partnerships for broad-extent conservation, specifying ultimate management objectives, and implementation and learning. Partnerships invested more funds in implementing conservation actions than any other aspect of conservation, and a program's context (geographic extent, United States vs. other countries, developed vs. developing nation) appeared to substantially affect program approach. Despite early successes of these organizations and benefits of broad-extent conservation, specific challenges related to uncertainties in scaling up information and to coordination in the face of diverse partner governance structures, conflicting objectives, and vast uncertainties regarding future system dynamics hindered long-term success, as demonstrated by the focal organizations. Engaging stakeholders, developing conservation measures, and implementing adaptive management were dominant challenges. To inform future research on broad-extent conservation, we considered several challenges when we developed detailed questions, such as what qualities of broad-extent partnerships ensure they complement, integrate, and strengthen, rather than replace, local conservation efforts and which adaptive management processes yield actionable conservation strategies that account explicitly for dynamics and uncertainties regarding multiscale governance, environmental conditions, and knowledge of the system? For more information, see http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12233/abstract.


*Botswana Wildlife Research Symposium, hosted by the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), held February 4-6, 2014 in Maun, Botswana – Over 200 invited participants attended this 3-day forum at the Botswana Wildlife Training Institute in Maun. The symposium aimed to bridge the gap between conservation science and management by bringing to the forefront research being done around the country by independent researchers, institutions and government departments. Thematic areas included wildlife monitoring, CBNRM, human / wildlife conflict, human / livestock / wildlife interface issues, and transboundary conservation. DWNP intends to use recommendations resulting from the meeting to inform their research and management agenda. The Government of Botswana, World Bank, WCS-AHEAD, USAID, UNDP, Okavango Research Institute, Wilderness Safaris, Tlhare Segolo Foundation, and others provided support for this year’s symposium. The meeting proceedings will be finalized and made available later in the year.


*Call for Presenters: RP-PCP / AHEAD-GLTFCA Conference, May 12-15, 2014, Zimbabwe – The RP-PCP (Research Platform – Production & Conservation in Partnership) and the AHEAD-GLTFCA initiative are co-organizing a conference in Zimbabwe from May 12-15, 2014, with a special focus on the Great Limpopo and Kavango Zambezi transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs). The theme of the conference, “Management of Protected Areas and their Peripheries in Southern Africa: Has Anything Changed with the Creation of TFCAs?” sets the stage for five thematic sessions that will address:

     – TFCAs as complex socio-ecological systems: drivers of TBNRM

     – Agriculture and animal production activities within TFCAs

     – Animal and human health in the management of TFCAs

     – Policy, law and other legal instruments for the governance of TFCAs

     – Human security in TFCAs: approaches and models

Proposals for presentations (oral presentations, speed presentations or posters) are now being accepted. For questions and / or more information on the call for papers, please see the conference flyer downloadable at
or contact aheadpcpconfproposal@gmail.com. For booking arrangements and other logistics details, please contact pcpahead@gmail.com and merle@mpu.co.za. The deadline for submission of abstracts is Friday March 28, 2014.

*The Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) 5th Annual Global Health Conference, May 10-12, 2014, Washington Hilton, Washington, DC, USA – The theme of the conference is ‘Universities 2.0: Global Health in the Post-MDG Era.’ There will also be special satellite sessions on May 9th on global cancer with the National Cancer Institute; building a better global health professional and international program with the Public Health Institute; and a day on innovation and implementation with the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and USAID. (These satellite sessions are free, but have limited space and require separate registration.) Please see the event website www.2014CUGHconference.org for conference highlights and information about how to register for and sponsor this exciting event. Sign up soon as space is going quickly. We have a stellar group of speakers, exciting new workshops, and the first ever global health film festival with the Pulitzer Center and others. For additional information, please contact Katherine Unger kunger@cugh.org.


*Masters of Wildlife Health and Population Management, University of Sydney – The Masters of Wildlife Health and Population Management is an innovative program that provides holistic training in wildlife population management. Students will be taught by experts from academia, industry, and government in one of the most beautiful and ecologically diverse settings in the world, yet will only be a short distance from the cosmopolitan and vibrant city of Sydney. Graduates will have the skills to address the increasingly complex challenges that face wildlife around the world, allowing them to be employed in a wide range of wildlife-related fields or enter a PhD program. The Masters offers the student maximum flexibility to be able to take full advantage of the opportunities available in the program. It is composed of 6 units of study that are offered as one week residential (full time for 7 days) courses with additional online material and a 12 credit research capstone experience. The units and capstone experience can be taken as a 1 year program or part time over a number of years. The Wildlife Masters is designed to appeal to students with a background in biology, ecology, conservation or veterinary medicine. For more information: phone +61 2 9036 6364, email vetscience.pgcinfo@sydney.edu.au, or see http://sydney.edu.au/vetscience/wildlife_masters/program/index.shtml.

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 & Shirley