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ECTAD: FAO’s response to animal disease emergencies


The Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) is FAO’s corporate centre for the planning and delivery of veterinary assistance to FAO member countries responding to the threat of transboundary animal health crises.


A combined effort of FAO’s Animal Production and Health (AGA) and Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation (TCE)  Divisions, ECTAD unites FAO’s wealth of technical expertise and operational capacity within a holistic approach to animal health.


ECTAD was set-up in 2004 to complement the Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES) and strengthen FAO’s capacity to respond to the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) crisis in a coordinated manner. In line with the One World, One Health framework, the scope of ECTAD now goes well beyond HPAI to include all major transboundary animal diseases (TADs) and evolving disease situations with probable consequences for animal and human health.


Collaborating intensely with EMPRES and with the support of FAO’s substantial technical expertise, ECTAD works to:


  • provide support to member countries in preventing and controlling TADs during a crisis through strengthened surveillance, preparedness and early warning and response activities in affected, at-risk and newly infected countries;
  • contribute to policy development and knowledge sharing through regional networks in the context of the FAO-OIE Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs);
  • manage emergency funds for TAD response and mitigation; and
  • build strong relationships with development partners and encourage fundraising.


In the field: ECTAD Regional Units


Under the direct responsibility of the ECTAD team at FAO headquarters and in close cooperation with its partners, FAO has established one ECTAD regional unit for Asia (Bangkok) and six subregional units: South Asia (Kathmandu), the Near East (Beirut), North Africa (Tunis), West and Central Africa (Bamako), Southern Africa (Gaborone) and East Africa (Nairobi). FAO is also the process of establishing a new unit in Panama.


ECTAD units play a central role in mitigating the impacts of TADs and strengthening the overall work of FAO. ECTAD units provide countries with expertise in the following areas:


  • epidemiology;
  • preparedness and contingency planning;
  • disease surveillance and control;
  • veterinary laboratories;
  • animal production;
  • socio-economic impact of animal diseases;
  • communication (risk communication in particular); and
  • implementation of operations (management of full project cycle).


ECTAD’s rapid response unit: the Crisis Management Centre – Animal Health


As the operational arm of ECTAD for rapid response, the Crisis Management Centre – Animal Health (CMC-AH) provides technical and operational assistance to help affected governments assess epidemiologic situations on the ground, diagnose TAD outbreaks and set-up immediate measures to help prevent or stop animal disease spread. Jointly operated by FAO and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and closely collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners, the CMC-AH functions as an ECTAD’s primary international facility for animal disease emergency response.


Technical foundations: Collaborating with EMPRES


The mission of the EMPRES-Livestock programme is to promote the effective containment and control of the most serious epidemic livestock diseases and TADs as well as newly emerging diseases by progressive elimination on a regional and global basis. To accomplish this goal, EMPRES works through international cooperation to promote and enable: early warning, early detection, early reaction, research, coordination and communication. ECTAD builds on EMPRES’ wealth of technical knowledge and history to put FAO’s technical expertise to work in the event of TAD emergencies.


International initiatives: the Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs)


Regarding the implementation of prevention and control programmes, ECTAD is a key component  of GF-TADs, the international disease emergency preparedness and contingency planning framework formally agreed in 2004 between FAO and OIE.


Global perspective for FAO and partners: One World, One Health


In response to the ongoing problem of HPAI and other emerging infectious diseases, a strategic framework has been jointly developed by: four specialized agencies (FAO, OIE, WHO and the United Nations Children Fund [UNICEF]), the World Bank and the United Nations System Influenza Coordinator (UNSIC). Entitled “Contributing to One World, One Health: A Strategic Framework for Reducing Risks of Infectious Diseases at the Animal-Human-Ecosystem Interface”, the frameworkidentifies the key issues related to the control of infectious diseases of animals and humans.




Juan Lubroth
Chief Veterinary Officer
ECTAD Manager
Animal Production and Health Division (AGA )
Tel: +39 06570 54184