FAO has convened a working group on socio-economics, policy and farming systems under the Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) to assess the human dimensions of the impact of avian influenza on households, livelihoods, food security and markets.
The group aims to assist FAO member states to:
- Strengthen government capacity to manage HPAI through policy and institutional mechanisms that take account of the socio-economic and institutional environment in which the poultry sector operates.
- Manage the transition between emergency and long term response to HPAI.
- Minimise negative social and economic impacts of disease outbreaks and disease control processes and reinforce coping mechanisms of poultry producers and others in poultry market chains.
- Promote a more robust and biosecure poultry sector that sustainably supports livelihoods.
The group's programme of work falls under four broad clusters of issues:
Social and economic impacts of HPAI outbreaks and control measures
- Reports on livelihoods and equity impacts, particularly for small scale producers and those dependent on the poultry sector
- Analysis of food security and nutrition impacts
- Advice on approaches to rehabilitation.
- Analysis of impacts of possible changes in the structure of the sector
Strategies, costs and financing of avian influenza control
- Advice on compensation strategies appropriate to national situations
- Advice on alternative livelihoods support when compensation programmes alone are insufficient
- Costs and funding mechanisms for HPAI control strategies using alternative approaches to control, and with a range of assumptions about disease epidemiology
Trade impacts and market shocks
- Review of national and local shocks in a variety of markets, in terms of price changes and demand fluctuation
- Suggestions for measures that could be taken to mitigate local and national shocks
- Assessments of economic implications of international market shocks, in terms of trade flows and price fluctuations
Strategies and technical guidelines for safe poultry production
- Practical and affordable husbandry methods for smallholders
- Safe and affordable poultry handling for traders and market operators
The socio-economics groups of ECTAD FAO also ensures there is close coordination among different disciplines to form integrated and appropriate responses, communication and coordination.
Cross-cutting activities, communication and coordination
The working group cooperates very closely with other groups in FAO and internationally on HPAI and socio-economic issues.
A presentation made at UNSIC in New York in 2006 for representatives of UNDP, UNICEF and WFP highlighted the continuum of socio-economic questions around HPAI control, from compensation to rehabilitation. Responding to interest shown by the participants of the meeting, FAO has set up and is now hosting a knowledge network on socio-economics in HPAI control for UN organisations.