Animal health

Emergency Prevention System for Animal Health (EMPRES-AH)

Preventing transboundary and high impact animal diseases

Every day, diseases threaten the lives of animals and the people who rely on them.

Recent increases in the number of outbreaks of transboundary animal diseases and emerging health related threats have raised public awareness of their potential impact on public health as well as on livelihoods, food security, national economies and global markets. These outbreaks have underlined the need to address such threats with a comprehensive and coordinated One Health approach.

Early warning, early detection and early response are essential to prevent disease spread, enhance production, ensure safe trade and in the case of zoonotic diseases, protect human health and avoid a human pandemic.

Threats from transboundary animal diseases are often related to unsustainable agricultural intensification, the movement of infected livestock and animal products within and across countries, the large-scale global movement of people, and the effects of climate change.

Connecting local knowledge and global expertise

Through the Emergency Prevention System (EMPRES), FAO assists countries to prevent and control the world’s most serious livestock and zoonotic diseases, while also surveying for newly emerging pathogens. Member countries are supported with early warning, and technical guidance for risk management of transboundary threats to the food chain at regional and country levels.

Since launching in 1994, EMPRES works in close collaboration with countries, regional and international organizations as well as research centres to develop and promote sound policies and control strategies for high impact diseases, improving food security and people’s livelihoods.

Disease prevention, risk management and the strengthening of One Health and biosecurity capacities at country and regional level, are implemented through coordination with the Emergency Centre for transboundary Animal diseases (ECTAD) and the European Commission for foot and mouth disease (EuFMD). Working with the Emergency Management Centre for Animal Health (EMC), EMPRES provides normative technical support and guidance on emergency response to high impact diseases.

EMPRES enables coordination, and communication in the global governance of transboundary animal diseases – giving rise to effective actions, including:

Monitoring disease threats for early warning
The unique EMPRES-i+ Global Animal Disease Information System supports EMPRES, as well as veterinary services and organizations by facilitating secure disease tracking, intelligence and analysis of health threats, and access to animal disease information. Live inputs are shared through the Global Early Warning System (GLEWS) that assists in disease risk assessments and forecasting and hence tackling animal disease threats of potential international or regional concern.

Tools and strategies
Providing tools and guidelines to enhance country capacities for progressive biosecurity management, disease surveillance, risk assessment, laboratory diagnostics, emergency preparedness and contingency planning.

Coordination and networking
Coordinating disease control activities at country, regional and global level including through the Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs), and the Quadripartite, working with regional laboratory and epidemiology networks and ensuring communication among all stakeholders..

Sustainable capacity building
Supporting the acquisition of risk management and One Health competencies through  different capacity development initiatives, like the In-Service Veterinary Applied epidemiology training (ISAVET) programme and the courses offered through the seven regional and sub-regional virtual learning centres. Organizing country missions, training on surveillance, strengthening surveillance and laboratory capacity, improving national and regional disease management, advising governments.

Making the world a safer place

The Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme (GREP) was a flagship initiative of FAO EMPRES, and today, EMPRES supports the reduction of risk of re-emergence and ensures that the world remains free from Rinderpest

Avian influenza
EMPRES has been instrumental in providing expert oversight of the emergence and spread of avian influenza since 2004. Although the disease remains endemic in some countries, the situation largely been improved and controlled, helping to protect food security as well as prevent a potential pandemic.

African swine fever
EMPRES is contributing to the development of risk-based strategies and action plans at regional and global levels, highlighting the socio-economic impact of the disease.

Foot-and-mouth disease
EMPRES provides technical support for the implementation of  the Joint FAO and WOAH Global Strategy for Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) to guide endemic countries through the Progressive Control Pathway (PCP).

Peste des petits ruminants
EMPRES assists in the implementation of the Global Programme for Eradication of Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR).

Lumpy Skin Disease
EMPRES assists conducting risk assessments and providing evidence-based recommendations for control of LSD.

Rift Valley Fever
EMPRES provides forecasts and timely alerts on the risk of Rift valley Fever outbreaks, using the RVF decision support tool, for decision support tool,  for coordinated preparedness and response to RVF.

African Swine Fever in wild boar - ecology and biosecurity 
African swine fever: detection and diagnosis
Bonnes pratiques en matière de biosécurité dans le secteur porcin
Préparation des plans d'intervention contre la peste porcine africaine