26 October 2022, Rome: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are scaling up efforts to strengthen global animal food security with the aim of protecting human lives and livelihoods while improving agrifood systems and safeguarding the environment.
USAID has reaffirmed once again its strong commitment to a longstanding and impactful partnership with FAO by granting $250 million to fund the FAO Global Health Security Programme (GHSP) for another five-year period (2022-2027).
The new funding will assist to implement the Quadripartite One Health Joint Plan of Action (OH-JPA), by enabling countries to sustain, with FAO support, the critical animal health and One Health capabilities developed in over 30 countries in Africa, South Asia and the Pacific, North Africa and the Near East. It will also help to strengthen capacities in selected new countries, thus helping national and regional stakeholders better prevent, detect and respond to health threats at the human, animal and environment interfaces.
“We are very grateful to USAID for its generous and timely contribution and for its ongoing support and long commitment,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu. “Human movement, the climate crisis, complex value chains, and the trade of livestock, wildlife and their products all contribute to the increased spread of diseases. We need to scale up our operations and collaborative efforts to curb this spread, and the new funding will enable FAO to strengthen the local animal health capacity, provide technical assistance on risk analysis and disease surveillance, strengthen outbreak control, preparedness and response, through a ‘One Health’ approach”. The ultimate outcome is the increased contribution of animal health systems to local and global health security and effective prevention of new pandemics.
The renewed partnership will build on the work that FAO has executed via its Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) in Asia and Africa since 2005. ECTAD has been active in more than 30 countries and is expanding geographically within the new contribution based on strategic and epidemiologic rationale. The support to countries will also assist them to leverage other investments in health security and agrifood systems transformation, including grants and loans from international financial institutions.
Bringing zoonotic diseases under control
The vast majority of emerging and endemic infectious zoonotic diseases are transboundary in nature. The FAO GHS programme envisages incorporating regional and epizonal perspectives which will allow for coherent approaches in disease prevention and control, as well as the more efficient use of limited resources in resource-constrained environments and leveraging corporate and Members’ resources.
The activities will focus on critical control points along the supply chain and on promoting biosecurity, hygiene precautions and good and sustainable production practices at animal-animal and animal-human interfaces to reduce health threats of animal origin, safeguard public health, livelihoods and agrifood systems.
To enable a stronger approach for disease control, bilateral and multilateral technical exchanges and cross-border collaboration between target countries should be further supported and expanded with focus on risk assessments, risk-based surveillance, diagnostic and pathogen characterization on biosecurity and biosafety as well as on prevention and risk reduction including vaccination and infection prevention and rational use of anitimicrobials.
Partnership between USAID and FAO in animal health
Over the last 16 years, the Government of the United States of America, through USAID, has provided $470 million to the FAO ECTAD to support the prevention, detection and response to animal and public health emergencies.
Through this partnership, FAO has been able to manage and coordinate the largest animal health capacity development programme in the world, establish multidisciplinary and highly skilled teams of experts to support the most vulnerable and less resourceful Members to improve their capacities to support disease control programmes and contribute to eliminating poverty, enhancing food safety and security, and protecting global health.
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