Increasing capacity to prepare and manage plant pests and animal diseases in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

Increasing capacity to prepare and manage plant pests and animal diseases in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

13/07/2018

The occurrence of transboundary plant pests and animal diseases poses grave socio-economic consequences as it affects food and nutrition security, human health, livelihoods, trade and economic development.

In an effort to raise awareness on emergency management principles necessary to effectively manage plant pests and animal diseases in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), organized a Good Emergency Management Practice (GEMP) workshop from 9-11 July 2018. The main objective of the GEMP workshop was to enhance preparedness, planning and response to plant pest and disease threats towards the goal of protecting crops and livestock to sustain livelihoods and food security.

The three-day workshop, supported by the government of France, gathered 17 participants from different sectors within the Palestinian Authority including the Agriculture Department, Veterinary and Quarantine Services, Pesticides laboratory, and the National Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The workshop provided a unique platform for both plant health and animal health officials to share their experiences in disease management, including challenges faced in accessing required funding to ensure timely responses to disease outbreaks.

Participants agreed on the urgent need for swift and coordinated action to deal with threats and acknowledged the benefit of training and the benefits of integrating the agriculture and livestock sectors to increase experience sharing on technical matters. The meeting also identified gaps in early warning systems, response, preparedness, contingency planning, including information dissemination and effective coordination and proposed a number of interventions to close such gaps and possible solutions to fund emergency response and to boost critical research areas, which can provide a better understanding of plant and animal pests and diseases.

Plant pests and animal diseases, if not adequately addressed, can have serious consequences on the food security and livelihood resilience of people living under protracted conflicts, like the situation in Gaza Strip,” stressed Azzam Ayasa, FAO Head of Programme in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “FAO is committed to continue working with its local and international partners to strengthen local capacities in the field if Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary services to protect both food producers and consumers.”

The highly participatory workshop highlighted the importance of a multi-sectoral coordination for agriculture and livestock sectors in increasing the capacity of farmers in the West Bank and Gaza to respond and manage plant pests and diseases.