EMPRES: the mandate

The Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases, known as EMPRES, was established in June 1994 as an FAO priority programme. The animal diseases component of EMPRES aims to strengthen FAO's role in preventing, controlling and, when possible, eradicating diseases that are highly contagious and may spread rapidly across national borders.

Rinderpest was designated as the first priority for this component, with a focus on the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme (GREP). But EMPRES also covers other transboundary diseases and pests that jeopardize food security, adversely affect public health or impede international trade in livestock and animal products.

Transboundary animal diseases are defined as those:

  • that are of significant economic, trade and/or food security importance for a considerable number of countries;
  • that can easily spread to other countries and reach epidemic proportions;
  • for which control/management, including exclusion, requires cooperation between several countries.

EMPRES aims to contain, control and progressively eliminate the most serious epidemic livestock diseases. This will be accomplished by mobilizing international cooperation on a regional and global basis, involving early warning, early and rapid reaction, enabling research and coordination.

EMPRES: disease strategy
For operational purposes, EMPRES groups transboundary animal diseases into three categories:

  • those of strategic importance - rinderpest, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) and foot-and-mouth diseases (FMD) - for which there is a need to coordinate either global (e.g. GREP) or major regional control programmes (FMD and CBPP);
  • those requiring tactical intervention, which demand EMPRES early response activity - e.g. Peste des petits ruminants, Rift Valley fever, lumpy skin disease, village Newcastle disease or where there is a major introduction of disease into new areas, such as screwworm or swine fevers;
  • emerging or evolving diseases.


Other resources:

25 February 1997

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