19 October 2011, Rome – A two-day meeting of the Global Steering Committee for the FAO/OIE joint program to combat transboundary animal diseases, known as GF-TADS, was held Tuesday and Wednesday at the FAO’s headquarters. It marks the fourth meeting to take stock of progress made to date and future directions for GF-TADS, or the Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases. This most recent meeting included the participation of the World Health Organization, reflecting the growing commitment among international agencies to address threats to human health and livelihoods at source: and often the origin is in animals.
The first Global Steering Committee meeting was held in 2008, during which GF-TADS was officially launched at the global level in response to alarming outbreaks of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza, which wiped out poultry in many countries and infected hundreds of humans.
The GF-TADS had been operational since 2004, but was augmented in scope to deal not only with the global H5N1 crisis but also with other high-impact diseases of economic importance.
Since then, a consensus has emerged that the GF-TADS strategy needs to fully encompass once again the other major animal diseases, including zoonotic diseases that can cross from animals to humans, and pose a risk to human health, food security, economic stability, and people’s livelihoods.
The meeting participants will attempt to reach a consensus about integrating health into one approach, which takes into account impacts of the environment on animal health and, consequently, on human health and people’s livelihoods.
The major disease threats that will be discussed include Rift Valley fever, rabies, foot-and-mouth disease, and African swine fever.
FAO is a partner of World Veterinary Year (Vet2011) and has recently adopted a resolution declaring Global Freedom from Rinderpest.