AHEAD Update – September / October / November 2018

Dear AHEAD Colleagues:

* Welcome to the latest issue of the AHEAD Update. As always, if you would like to post an item in the next Update, please just send it to us – thanks.


AHEAD at 15: Reflections on Maintaining Support to Support Change for the Better

The AHEAD Program was launched 15 years ago this month, in September 2003, as a by-invitation 2-day event at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa. The focus of the working meeting was a set of important issues at the wildlife / livestock interface that were clearly not being addressed. I was betting that the breadth and depth of expertise available in southern and East Africa would be willing to come to the table and brainstorm on new solutions to long-standing problems. The overarching context was a fairly young transfrontier conservation areas (aka 'peace parks') movement, and a sense of excitement that more sustainable and diversified land-uses and livelihoods were within reach. We published the AHEAD launch proceedings as a book, and I confess I am pleased and humbled by what has unfolded over the 15 years since.

What I believe was the first applied One Health program, Animal & Human Health for the Environment And Development has learned a lot in earnest partnership with many of you since 2003. Keeping what is essentially a facilitative, cross-sectoral program moving forward is certainly challenging, and the range of supporters we've had over the years, from world-renowned foundations and agencies to individuals who clearly recognize that complex problems don't get solved overnight, has inspired us to 'keep at it' even when prevailing political and/or policy winds were sometimes daunting. For some of our colleagues and financial supporters, the work is about wildlife conservation. For others, it is about enhancing prospects for rural livestock farmers. For most, the work of focus is above all about improving prospects for sustainable socioeconomic development as underpinned by earnest environmental stewardship, and about poverty alleviation as a foundational step. As I confess to saying more than once,

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.

Our journey is of course not complete, and I find AHEAD at a crossroads. Over the past 15 years, raising funds to keep the work going has never been easy, and my sense is that it is perhaps getting harder. That could be an artifact of my being 15 years older (!), but I think it actually reflects (1) the fact that there are more global challenges than ever that increasingly depend upon philanthropy, and (2) the reality that, over the past 15 years, we have 'outlasted' many of the funding initiatives that we've benefitted from at different points in time. Philanthropic institutions and programs change leadership and thus thematic priorities regularly- at the same time, we have not wavered from our objectives. This thus means we are essentially constantly re-engaging old and new potential partners, bringing them up to speed using what could perhaps best be described as "an elevator speech...in a very tall building." As readers of the AHEAD Update certainly know, this work is somewhat complicated, and it takes a sophisticated donor to "get" the how's and why's of what we do. We have always managed though, which gives me hope. We will of course continue to do our best to keep AHEAD efforts funded; I think it will likely take another 10 years to fully capitalize upon the synergies represented by the triangle of wildlife health, domestic animal health, and human health and livelihoods, all as underpinned by environmental stewardship, that AHEAD and collaborating partners have long envisioned.

- Steve

KAZA Transfrontier Conservation Area Animal Health Sub-Working Group Revived, Meets in Maun, Botswana

The five-nation KAZA Treaty (2011) allows for the establishment of ad hoc specialist advisory groups (Working Groups - WGs) to advise the KAZA Joint Management Committee (JMC) on their areas of specialisation, represent different sectors of society in the KAZA developmental process, and facilitate exchange of information on matters of mutual interest among the partner states. One such group, the Animal Health Sub-Working Group (AHSWG) under the official auspices of the Conservation WG, has remained dormant for many years. However, in February 2018 the JMC supported its revival so that veterinary challenges across KAZA could continue to be addressed through a cross-sectoral, integrated approach.

AHEAD has been pleased to support the KAZA Secretariat to facilitate an Animal Health Sub-Working Group meeting in Maun, Botswana on August 1st and 2nd, 2018 that allowed the leaders of wildlife and livestock veterinary efforts across the KAZA partner countries to:

• Review and agree on the Terms of Reference of the reconstituted Sub-Working Group;
• Revisit and reaffirm a common understanding of the key animal health challenges found in the KAZA TFCA;
• Identify key next steps for prioritized action, to be submitted to the KAZA Conservation Working Group for review.

More developments from this important Sub-Working Group will be shared over time.

SADC Livestock Technical Committee (LTC) Recommends Adoption of Commodity-Based Trade (CBT) of Beef Guidelines as a SADC Document

The SADC Livestock Technical Committee (LTC), comprised of the national directors of veterinary services and animal production in SADC Member States, meets one or more times annually to discuss livestock sector cooperation. The LTC in turn reports to the SADC Council of Ministers responsible for livestock through the SADC Secretariat.

AHEAD was pleased to be able to support the most recent meeting of the LTC held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 13, 2018. The morning session on "Improving Livestock Trade through a CBT / Value Chain Approach and Enhancement of FMD Management" provided an opportunity to familiarize LTC members with the recently updated Guidelines for beef exporting enterprises located in areas not free of foot and mouth disease.

During the session, LTC members agreed that the Guidelines were quite useful, and that CBT could benefit livestock farmers of the region by enhancing prospects, for example, for intra-SADC as well as intra-Africa trade. Consensus was also reached on recommending that the Guidelines be adopted as a SADC document, with minor amendments, and it is anticipated that this decision will be ratified at the next LTC meeting, with a recommendation for Ministers' approval.


* Ecosystem Service Flows from a Migratory Species: Spatial Subsidies of the Northern Pintail (2018) Bagstad KJ, Semmens DJ, Diffendorfer JE, Mattsson BJ, Dubovsky J, Thogmartin WE, Wiederholt R, Loomis J, Bieri JA, Sample C, Goldstein J, López-Hoffman L. Ambio, https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-018-1049-4Migratory species provide important benefits to society, but their cross-border conservation poses serious challenges. By quantifying the economic value of ecosystem services (ESs) provided across a species' range and ecological data on a species' habitat dependence, we estimate spatial subsidies - how different regions support ESs provided by a species across its range. We illustrate this method for migratory northern pintail ducks in North America. Pintails support over $101 million USD annually in recreational hunting and viewing and subsistence hunting in the U.S. and Canada. Pintail breeding regions provide nearly $30 million in subsidies to wintering regions, with the "Prairie Pothole" region supplying over $24 million in annual benefits to other regions. This information can be used to inform conservation funding allocation among migratory regions and nations on which the pintail depends. We thus illustrate a transferrable method to quantify migratory species derived ESs and provide information to aid in their transboundary conservation.

* Reducing Food's Environmental Impacts through Producers and Consumers (2018) Poore J and Nemecek T, Science, http://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6392/987Food's environmental impacts are created by millions of diverse producers. To identify solutions that are effective under this heterogeneity, we consolidated data covering five environmental indicators; 38,700 farms; and 1600 processors, packaging types, and retailers. Impact can vary 50-fold among producers of the same product, creating substantial mitigation opportunities. However, mitigation is complicated by trade-offs, multiple ways for producers to achieve low impacts, and interactions throughout the supply chain. Producers have limits on how far they can reduce impacts. Most strikingly, impacts of the lowest-impact animal products typically exceed those of vegetable substitutes, providing new evidence for the importance of dietary change. Cumulatively, our findings support an approach where producers monitor their own impacts, flexibly meet environmental targets by choosing from multiple practices, and communicate their impacts to consumers.

* The Vegan Craze: What Does it Mean for Pastoralists? (2018) Scoones I, Pastoralism, Uncertainty and Resilience, https://pastres.wordpress.com/2018/06/22/the-vegan-craze-what-does-it-mean-for-pastoralists/...The bottom line is that extensive livestock production on open rangeland is a livelihood that supports people in some of the most marginal areas of the planet. In most cases there is no alternative. Growing vegetables and soy beans is simply not feasible. And in many respects (despite all the biased, negative imagery), pastoralism is probably the most sustainable, low impact use of such environments. There are impacts for sure, but there are also impacts from dispossessing pastoralists of land and livelihoods too (a facet ignored in the [above mentioned] Science article and associated media commentary)....

* Global Foot-and-Mouth Disease Research Alliance (GFRA)- latest newsletter (2018) now available, https://www.ars.usda.gov/GFRA/files/GFRA newsletter no.8.pdfThe GFRA aims to expand FMD research collaborations worldwide and maximize the use of resources and expertise to achieve its five strategic goals. Several research programs are currently active in Europe, North America, South America and South-East Asia. GFRA programs will continue to expand the alliance in these areas and will actively reach out to new areas of the world.

• Goal 1. Facilitate research collaborations and serve as a communication gateway for the global FMD research community
• Goal 2. Conduct strategic research to better understand FMD
• Goal 3. Development of the next generation of control measures and strategies for their application
• Goal 4. Determine social and economic impacts of the new generation of improved FMD control
• Goal 5. Provide evidence to inform development of policies for safe trade of animals and animal products in FMD-endemic areas

* Serological Responses of Cattle Inoculated with Inactivated Trivalent Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine at the Wildlife-Livestock Interface of the Kruger National Park, South Africa (2018) Lazarus DD, van Schalkwyk OL, Burroughs REJ, Mpehle A, Reininghaus B, Rikhotso O, Heath L, Maree FF, Blignaut B, Fosgate GT, Preventive Veterinary Medicine, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016758771730613X – The current cattle vaccination programme at the wildlife / livestock interface along the western border of South Africa's Kruger National Park elicits sero-conversion in a high proportion of vaccinated cattle. However, the predicted peak antibody response was generally below the level previously established as necessary to protect against development of FMD (as long as there is a good 'match' between the virus strains incorporated into the vaccine and the viruses circulating in the field, which was not evaluated in the paper). In addition, especially in young cattle, the duration of significant antibody responses was found to be unusually short-lived. The authors conclude that more research is needed to address these important issues.

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, we were fortunate to have 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 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