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  • Eran Raizman
    Senior Animal Health Officer,
    Head of EMPRES-Animal Health
    FAO HQ
    Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
    00153 Rome, Italy
  • [email protected]
 © Eyal Litver


Increasing cooperation in preventing and controlling transboundary animal diseases

Joint Palestinian/Israeli Good Emergency Management Practice (GEMP) workshop


July 2017, Jerusalem – Because transboundary animal diseases (TADs) know no borders, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Crisis Management Center-Animal Health (CMC-AH) in collaboration with the FAO West Bank and Gaza Strip office in Jerusalem organized a joint Palestinian-Israeli Good Emergency Management Practice (GEMP) workshop from 16 to 18 July 2017 in Jerusalem. This workshop was a timely and significant collaboration supporting and strengthening the continuous dialogue required between neighbours.

Transboundary animal diseases, if not adequately addressed can have heavy consequences on both animal and human health, as well as on food security and safety of affected countries. The Good Emergency Management Practice workshop was designed by FAO as a tool to provide guidance to a country's Veterinary Services and to better prepare, prevent, and mitigate the impact of animal diseases through the implementation of emergency allied stakeholders contingency plans. The workshop was aimed to be highly participatory, using simulation exercises to discuss the different aspects of animal disease prevention and management and highlighting the importance of field veterinarians and public-private partnership in outbreak control.

The three-day GEMP workshop gathered five participants from the Palestinian Veterinary Services, seven from the Israeli Veterinary Services and one from the Israeli Ministry of Health and was most successful in sharing experience from all sides on animal disease prevention and management as well as discussions on the One Health approach. Mixed in smaller groups to increase dialogue, participants discussed on topics, ranging from disease surveillance, risk assessment, animal health information systems and disease control. In addition, a special session was dedicated to Brucellosis due to its high prevalence in the region as well as the amount of efforts and required resources to be mobilized. Workshop participants conducted a gap and needs assessment to improve the animal disease prevention and control system, and identified the following actions:

  • Joint training on diagnostics and field epidemiology;
  • Regular meetings between Chief Veterinary Officers from Palestine and Israel
  • Regular technical meetings between field state veterinarians;
  • Joint risk communication and consumer/farmer’s awareness strategy on Brucellosis;
  • Harmonization of animal health permits/certificates
  • Joint reports on disease outbreaks, in Arabic and Hebrew.

The participants acknowledged the importance of joint technical meetings to harmonize disease control strategies and the value of sharing experiences on technical matters. The Joint Palestinian/Israeli GEMP workshop is a valuable example of collaboration between neighbours towards a common goal of protecting livestock and sustaining livelihoods by strengthening prevention to TADs. The workshop participants expressed appreciation to FAO for organizing and leading this initiative, and requested additional activities to be implemented.

This event, particularly the small group sessions, also provided both Palestinians and Israelis the opportunity to have informal communication that is so essential for building trust between the two communities.