Manual on the preparation of national animal disease emergency preparedness plans


The control and eradication of livestock diseases are primarily the responsibility of national governments whose executive for this purpose is the national veterinary service. Since its inception FAO has been actively involved in the control of livestock diseases and its Animal Health Service (AGAH) is dedicated to this purpose. Over the years AGAH, with the help of expert panels and technical assistance schemes, has played a key normative role in developing standards and policies for dealing with major diseases. The result has been progressive reorientation of veterinary services, education and research so as to ensure an integrated approach to major diseases, to the improvement of animal health and productivity and in the preparation of animal products. In this regard AGAH collaborates with other international and regional organizations, particularly the International Office of Epizootics (OIE), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Atomic Energy Agency with which FAO has a Joint Division (FAO/IAEA), regional organizations such as the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources of the Organization of African Unity (OAU/IBAR), as well as with bilateral and multilateral donor agencies. A characteristic of transboundary animal diseases (TADs) is that they themselves can be the cause of national emergencies and, as this manual demonstrates, their significance often transcends national boundaries. They are of particular importance to food security and sustained economic development and trade for many countries. It is imperative therefore, wherever possible, to limit the socio-economic disruptions resulting from outbreaks of TADs. The role of FAO in the fight against epidemic diseases of livestock has recently been strengthened with the establishment of the special programme, Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES). Furthermore, the World Food Summit, through Objective 3.1 of Commitment Three of the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the Plan of Action, November 1996, commits governments, in partnership with all actors of civil society, and with the support of international institutions to “seek to secure effective prevention and progressive control of plant and animal pests and diseases, including especially those which are of transboundary nature, such as rinderpest, cattle tick, foot and mouth disease and desert locust, where outbreaks can cause major food shortages, destabilize markets and trigger trade measures; and promote concurrently, regional collaboration in plant pests and animal disease control and the widespread development and use of integrated pest management practices”. It should also be noted that the need for effective preparedness for and response to emergencies, including those caused by pests and diseases, is enshrined in Commitment Five of the World Food Summit Plan of Action, where Objective 5.2 states inter alia that international organizations will “maintain, promote and establish, as quickly as possible, in collaboration with non-governmental organizations and other organizations, as appropriate, the preparedness strategies and mechanisms agreed upon at the ICN, including development and application of climate forecast information for surveillance and early warning, drought, flood, other natural disasters, pest and disease alertness”. The Manual on the preparation of national animal disease emergency preparedness plans is thus both a book of reference for national veterinary services and a contribution of the EMPRES programme towards the fulfilment of a component of the World Food Summit Commitments.



Animal disease, Emergency preparedness plans