Conference co-organised by the World Bank and the World Organisation for Animal health (OIE) in collaboration with the Food and agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations
The World Bank and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) co-organised a Conference on “Global Animal Health Initiative: the Way Forward” in collaboration with the FAO at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC (USA), October 9, 10 and 11 2007.
“Quite apart from avian influenza, emerging animal diseases, three quarters of which are zoonotic, are set to become more and more part of the world landscape. In response to these major health risks, the international community will be required to take an increasingly active long-term role in a global system of animal disease prevention and control. As a first step toward this ambitious objective, the World Bank is supporting the OIE through a Development Grant Facility” Dr. François Le Gall, World Bank.
The specific objective of this World Bank Grant is to contribute to (i) the awareness at national and international levels on the importance of these animal diseases of global importance and the Global Public Good nature of their prevention and control, (ii) the continuing strengthening of the collaboration between public health and animal health key players as well as with the private sector, (iii) the enhancement of national capacity with the improvement of the quality of their Veterinary Services, and (iv) the leveraging of funds toward these specific objectives
This conference allowed worldwide renowned specialists of animal and public health, as well as economists and experts in development to recommend new directions to face emerging threats linked with the increased movement of pathogens of animal origin caused by today’s globalized markets and climatic changes with dramatic socio-economic and public health consequences worldwide.
"The first objective of the Conference was to share knowledge on the progress made on this important collaboration, in particular on the economic and governance agenda” Dr. François Le Gall.
123 participants coming from international and regional organizations, representatives of governments of developing and developed countries from the five continents, and the private sector, stressed the importance and urgency of improving the governance and infrastructure worldwide in the field of veterinary zoonoses and animal diseases prevention and control mechanisms, as well as private-public partnership in the implementation of specific programs directed to animal health.
“Healthy animals are crucial for the future of human race” said Dr. David Nabarro, United Nation System Influenza Coordinator, who attended the conference.
The participants reiterated the Global Public Good nature of improved governance in the prevention and control of animal diseases of global importance and highlighted the fact that the cost of prevention of these diseases through appropriate surveillance networks by farmers and veterinarians was extremely low compared to the cost of crisis.
“Some of these diseases only affect livestock, which can be catastrophic enough – just look at the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the UK . Other diseases—the zoonoses—transmit to humans and have led the international community to recognize that the control of these diseases is a global public good ” Kathy Sierra, Vice President, Sustainable Development, World Bank.
“The costs of preventing major animal diseases are significantly less than those associated with outbreaks and the benefit/cost ratio of investing in prevention and control is high; e vidence from the literature analysis as well as the results of the study extrapolations in the specific case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, overwhelmingly suggests that these major diseases, including non-contagious animal diseases, have the potential to lead to substantial and widespread consequences, especially in today’s globalized markets; in particular, their impacts have implications in terms of public health, food security, poverty alleviation, sustainable economic development and social equity and stability ” (Extract from one of the three studies conducted by OIE and validated during the Conference).
They also recommended to evaluate the compliance of all countries worldwide with the OIE international standards of quality of veterinary services using the OIE PVS tool (evaluation of the performance of the veterinary services) and to increase capacity building programs when necessary, because “only one country which does not comply may endanger the entire planet” Dr. Bernard Vallat, Director General of OIE.
“Despite progress, the current state of Veterinary Services and preparedness levels in developing and in transition countries continues to pose a real and present threat to the prevention and controls of these major diseases” (Extract from OIE studies).
The need to fund gap analysis and to develop lobbying activities to promote investments to support the veterinary services compliance with international standards was confirmed by the Conference.
“The private sector is dedicated to promote good governance of veterinary services as a prerequisite for further investments” Dr. Will Hueston, Coordinator of the Safe Supply of Affordable Food Everywhere (SSAFE) initiative, which represents a worldwide partnership between global food system companies, international NGOs, intergovernmental organizations and academia.
Finally, the Conference stressed the importance of adequate funding for emergencies involving Animal Epizootics and Zoonoses in developing and in countries in transition , which would be able to support all the needs for prevention and management of potential sanitary crisis linked to animal diseases including those transmissible to humans.
“There is a need for a global risk-management instrument to finance emergency response in developing countries and provide incentives for prevention at all levels” (Extract from OIE studies).
Options for such financing would be further explored with the guidance of World Bank, OIE, FAO and developing countries representatives.
“The availability of emergency financing is needed to prevent for every crisis recently occurred such as “Mad cow” (BSE), foot and mouth disease (FMD) and avian influenza (AI) by combating immediately the source of the problems as soon as they would appear” Dr. Bernard Vallat. >
“We have to look beyond avian influenza and make sure we are prepared for the next inevitable zoonosis. We must be prepared as a global system to combat these threats to human and animal health, the environment, and the global economy, particularly in the poorest countries” said Kathy Sierra, Vice-President, Sustainable Development, World Bank.