FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Countries envision wiping out an animal disease

A devastating animal disease affecting sheep and goats is being targeted for eradication by the year 2030, in an international effort by affected countries. A recent workshop for West Eurasian countries began work on a roadmap for action. 

Peste des petits ruminants, also known as sheep and goat plague, is a highly contagious disease which, if left unchecked, could have significant negative impacts on food security. 

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan were represented at the 24 February workshop in Almaty – organized by FAO, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and the Government of Kazakhstan.

The workshop was convened following a call to countries to monitor and evaluate implementation of a Global Strategy for the Control and Eradication of Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), adopted at a global conference last year. An advisory group is guiding countries in the region toward meeting standards for vaccination, and extra training for veterinarians is being provided. 

Until recently, sheep and goat plague has been difficult to diagnose and track in less developed countries due to a lack of well-trained veterinarians and scarcity of well-equipped labs.

“Cooperation across nations is essential because PPR is so highly contagious,” said Eran Raizman, head of FAO’s Emergency Prevention System for Animal Health. 

The Almaty workshop is expected to serve as a blueprint for other such meetings in the future. The outcome will be used to formulate a regional PPR strategy, while each country will be asked to formulate its national effort in line with global strategy and a key resolution of FAO’s governing conference. 

“In order to control a disease that crosses borders, countries are aligning their strategies toward the 2030 vision for global PPR freedom,” said FAO animal health officer Felix Njeumi from the recently established FAO/OIE global secretariat for PPR eradication.

As the international effort ramps up, prevention and response to the disease are expected to improve dramatically – along with rural livelihoods and food security in the region. 

29 March 2016, Almaty, Kazakhstan