FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Coordination remains crucial for African swine fever preparedness in the Balkans

Despite the limitations in travel and face-to-face meeting due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, FAO continues to bring people together, online, to discuss African swine fever (ASF) – a lethal, viral, transboundary animal disease of domestic pigs and wild boar, against which there is no vaccine.

The focus of the meeting will be on wild boar, hunting, and hunting biosecurity.

This is the second meeting of this type convening veterinary services from the Balkans to present FAO initiatives and receive feedback on future coordination and activities. Such meetings are expected to continue in the future, every three months.

“It is particularly important to keep connected with our Member States and partners, especially during these difficult times,” said Daniel Beltrán-Alcrudo, FAO animal health specialist.

The meeting comes very timely, as ASF has been recently detected in wild boar in Germany and the yearly hunting seasons throughout the region will start in a couple of months.

Participants in this online meeting include national focal points from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia, representatives of relevant international actors, such as the European Commission, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and representatives from neighboring countries.

FAO will present current and planned activities in relation to surveying hunting grounds with a particular focus on their biosecurity, reporting dead wild boar through the iMammalia application, and training for hunters on African swine fever.

“The way we operate has been significantly challenged due to the CoVID-19, but every crisis also present an opportunity for innovation in our work,” said Mark Hovari, FAO animal health preparedness expert.

*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).

1 October 2020, Budapest, Hungary