What problem did it address, where?
Transboundary plant pests and animal diseases like Desert Locust, Rinderpest, or foot and mouth disease can appear suddenly within a country and cause panic as very little time is available to respond. Contingency planning permits national control programmes to use international experience and information, including fresh data on the spread of pests and diseases from neighbouring countries, to prioritize actions, regulations, resources, and communication plans to respond more quickly when a transboundary pest or disease invades. Under the auspices of the Desert Locust Control Committee FAO has assisted countries in the Near East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and most recently West Africa to prepare contingency plans for Desert Locust. Countries in East and South Asia, Eastern, Western, and Southern Africa have applied contingency plans for foot and mouth disease, and contingency planning is now being applied in Southeast Asia for new outbreaks of Avian Influenza.
Following a request by one or more member countries, and using FAO-prepared guidelines, spreadsheet exercises, and updated data on pest and disease distributions and dynamics, one to two week long seminars are held where technical specialists, operations managers, and field staff carry out realistic simulation scenarios, tabulate resources and compare them with likely scale of outbreaks, apply simple and robust cost and other estimators (as of population growth, infection spread rates, available budgets) to decide how well equipped their organizations are to respond to likely outbreaks. The results of contingency planning strengthen the arguments participants use to gain financial and other resources in preparation for and response to outbreaks. Where contingency planning can be coupled with mapping, then the plans can be more useable during field outbreaks.
Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Near East, and SIDS where transboundary pests and diseases of plants of animals under growing traffic and trade pose increasing risks to production, health and environment.