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Livestock Emergency Standards and Guidelines (LEGS) is now available

The Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) will be officially launched at a ceremony hosted by the African Union in Addis Ababa on Wednesday 6th May 2009. LEGS has been developed as a set of international standards and guidelines for the assessment, design, implementation and evaluation of livestock interventions to assist people affected by humanitarian crises. LEGS is an independent consortium consisting of FAO, the Feinstein International Center (Tufts University), the International Committee of the Red Cross, the African Union and Vtrinaires Sans Frontires (VSF) Europa. The development of LEGS has been supported by financial contributions from OFDA, FAO and Oxfam GB.


From early 2000 various agencies and individuals involved in livestock relief work began to question the quality and professionalism of their interventions. Over time, these concerns were linked to current thinking on livelihoods and the concept of saving lives and livelihoods. The LEGS process brought these and other initiatives together into a single set of published international standards and guidelines for livestock emergency interventions. LEGS is based on three livelihoods objectives:


  1. Providing immediate assistance to crisis-affected communities
  2. Protecting the livestock-related assets of crisis-affected communities
  3. Assisting the re-building of key assets among crisis-affected communities


The hard copy of LEGS has now been published and is available from Practical Action Publishing http://www.practicalactionpublishing.org and a free downloadable copy will be soon be available on the FAO and LEGS websites http://www.livestock-emergency.net. The key technical areas covered by LEGS are: destocking, veterinary care, provision of feed and water, shelter and the provision of animals (restocking). LEGS also contains a CD with a decision support tool which assists in asking the right questions to ensure appropriate and timely interventions for any specific emergency.


With generous support from DFID and the European Union (ECHO), a post-publication phase of LEGS will be initiated. Activities will include preparing a comprehensive LEGS training pack followed by regional training workshops. By mid-2010, it is hoped that there will be a cadre of LEGS trainers and focal points across Africa, Asia and if funds are available South America and the Caribbean. Supporting them will be French, Spanish and Arabic versions of LEGS; an improved LEGS website; and a practical how to do it manual published by FAO.

The Animal Production and Health Division of FAO is pleased to have supported LEGS since its inception and looks forward to being actively involved in its use in the future.

For further information contact Cathy Watson, LEGS Coordinator coordinator@livestock-emergency.net or at FAO: Simon Mack Simon.Mack@fao.org



What are people saying about the Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards?


Peter D. Little
Professor of Anthropology and Director of Development Studies, Emory University

This manual-style book is a very welcome addition to the growing literature on humanitarian work because of its focus on saving lives and livestock-based livelihoods, including the assets (animals) upon which they depend. It presents a convincing set of guidelines, backed by sound concepts and methods, that point to when, where, and for whom different livestock-based interventions should be implemented during emergencies. The manual will be extremely useful to both humanitarian workers on the front lines and policy makers deciding on when and what types of humanitarian assistance are required in an emergency.


Lili Mohiddin
Emergency Food Security and Livelihoods, Humanitarian Department, Oxfam GB

Its been my experience that many agencies respond to livestock emergencies in a variety of ways. A lack of guidelines and standards has resulted in inconsistent and often unaccountable programming both within and between agencies. LEGS should enable agencies such as Oxfam to provide more appropriate, more accountable, more consistent and better quality emergency livestock programming. This can only be of greater benefit to those that the programs target.


Tim Leyland
Livestock and Agricultural Trade Adviser, DFID

This manual manages to convert a wealth of experience and knowledge into logically presented step-by-step guidance for anyone attempting to respond to or avoid humanitarian disasters that involve livestock owners and their animals. It provides a benchmark for good practice that will undoubtedly save lives and livelihoods.

Sara Pantuliano
Programme Leader, Overseas Development Institute

The Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards address a much-neglected area of humanitarian practice. This book is invaluable both because it takes a livelihood perspective to crisis response and because it provides a highly actionable framework for intervention grounded in wider thinking. This is a document for practitioners developed by practitioners and as such is an important resource for those called to respond to the increasing challenges facing livestock-keepers in Africa and beyond.


Julie March
Agriculture and Food Security Advisor, U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance

LEGS provides a meeting point for humanitarian response and livestock-based interventions, while ensuring that principles and standards are understood and maintained. This promises to be an invaluable tool for response planning.