FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Virtual training series helps countries prepare for emergencies affecting livestock

Natural and man-made disasters occur in various forms, and all of them can severely affect people’s livelihoods through loss of assets, including livestock. In emergencies, helping households protect their livestock and survive the immediate crisis can contribute to a faster recovery of the whole community.

To ensure a more rapid and appropriate response, and enhance efficiency of the preparedness measures across Europe and Central Asia, FAO and the Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) developed a four-part training programme. Participants from over 20 countries took part in the webinar series that concludes today.

Throughout November and December, representatives of national governments, non-governmental organizations, extension services in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and other participants received up-to-date and relevant knowledge on livestock-related emergencies.

In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, livestock is an integral part of the rural life and economy and contributes significantly to family subsistence, livelihood, and well-being. Yet disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, droughts, conflicts, as well as other shocks affect livestock and the farmers, their livelihood, as well as the whole animal husbandry and food industry.

“Countries and specifically farmers and other related actors should be prepared to confront and react quickly to animal health emergencies that can otherwise jeopardize and undermine many years of investment in the livestock sector,” said Tibor Szucs, FAO livestock production specialist.

As the regional FAO animal health and production strategy notes, improving animal health emergency management is especially challenging in Europe and Central Asia, because many of the countries have low live animal and animal product exports, or low animal populations. “As a result, prevention, detection, and preparedness for animal health emergencies are of a low priority for governments, and the underdeveloped private sector is not able to influence policymakers to address these constraints.”

The joint FAO-LEGS webinar series was developed to fill the gap by offering crucial information on key actions for good emergency management – prevention, detection, preparedness, response, and recovery.

The core of the curricula consists of the Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards handbook – a set of international guidelines and standards for designing, implementing, and evaluating the most appropriate livestock interventions to help people affected by humanitarian crises. This also provided participants key actions and guidance notes for future interventions based on proven practices.

15 December 2021, Budapest, Hungary