FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Elements: phytosanitary, food safety standards, best practices and system architecture, sanitary/veterinary control issues

Global agricultural markets have become increasingly complex in the past two decades, mainly because of increasing controls and standards designed to ensure food safety and prevent the spread of plant and animal diseases.

In food safety, weaknesses in national controls and in the implementation of global food regulations have led to an emergence of standards and requirements being set by the private sector, with the involvement of certification bodies and regional organizations in implementation and enforcement. FAO helps countries develop country-specific food control systems, regulations and standards that are in harmony with global food standards.

FAO addresses animal health by supporting veterinary services in the prevention and control of transboundary animal diseases, the improvement of diagnostic and laboratory capacities, and the promotion of the prudent use of antimicrobials. Antimicrobial resistance and zoonotic diseases are important cross-cutting issues. Plant health issues are covered through the development of capacities of plant protection organizations at regional and national levels. This Regional Priority Programme also helps regional bodies develop capacities in biosafety. Through this Priority Programme, regional biosafety networks will be strengthened for compliance with WTO agreements.

Locust infestations, aggravated by climate change and environmental factors, are a serious problem for agricultural production in Tajikistan, threatening food security and economic stability. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) supports the country via regional projects as part of its “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Central Asia and Caucasus (CCA)”.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is taking a leap forward in bolstering animal health training globally. The FAO Virtual Learning Center (VLC) for the Europe and Central Asia region has secured accreditation for three of its online courses through the Veterinary Continuing Education in Europe (VetCEE) – an international non-profit association founded as a joint initiative of veterinary academia, specialists and the profession. These accredited courses include topics as diverse as biosecurity for ruminants, African swine fever preparedness, and an introduction to One Health.
Zoonotic diseases – diseases that can pass between animals and people – continue to have major impacts on human health and cause economic losses. To support the Kyrgyz Republic in controlling such diseases, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in partnership with the Government of the United States of America through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Ministry of Water Resources, Agriculture and Processing Industry of the Kyrgyz Republic launched the Global health security and pandemic preparedness programme. It should enhance the One Health approach in the country and support its ability to prevent, detect and respond to zoonotic and other public health threats. 
In Europe and Central Asia, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is expanding its online learning opportunities for animal health and production specialists. The platform is the regional Virtual Learning Center that has successfully conducted a series of virtual tutored trainings in 2023 and is set to roll out new courses that will respond to the dynamic needs of the region. 

Globally, we are faced with an urgent and unprecedented need to significantly reduce the growing global threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the livestock sector caused by overuse and misuse of antimicrobials. 

To  accelerate work to combat AMR in the Western Balkans, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) convened a technical consultation meeting on antimicrobial use and resistance in the Western Balkans, from 6 to 7 December, in a hybrid format. 

Agriculture plays a central role in Montenegro’s economy, with livestock breeding being the most important agriculture subsector. Now, farmers are learning how to take ownership of their local farm development by applying the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 
African swine fever, an infectious viral and highly lethal disease that kills pigs and wild boar, first appeared in the Balkans and the Republic of Moldova nearly a decade ago. While not a threat to human health, the virus is a major hazard to pig farms, livelihoods, local economies, and food security. 
Food standards help ensure that food produced, traded, and consumed is safe, and meets the quality parameters expected by the consumer.  Several countries in the Europe and Central Asia region use Codex standards and texts as the basis for strengthening their legal framework for food safety including development of food laws, regulations, and other measures.

Several transboundary animal diseases are controlled with a “stamping out” policy, which consists of depopulation of the diseased animals, disposal of the infected carcasses and materials, followed by cleaning and disinfection of the affected farm. 
The Central Asian Animal Health Network (CAAHN) convened on 8−9 June for its third meeting since its establishment in 2019 in the historical city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan, to delve into the future of animal health and the One Health approach within the region.
When you eat, are you sure your food is safe?  Most likely, the answer will not be categorically affirmative. Foodborne diseases affect 1 in 10 people worldwide each year. To change this situation, many people work every day to ensure that safety requirements are met in the food production process. Food standards help us to ensure what we eat is safe. 
FAO and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development help update food safety measures for smallholders’ traditional culinary products
By incorporating the vision of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on digital innovation to prevent and control avian influenza, the FAO Virtual Learning Center for Europe and Central Asia has trained over 240 veterinarians through an online, Russian language course for preparedness against an outbreak of the detrimental disease.
Two back-to-back events addressing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the food and agriculture sectors of Europe and Central Asia concluded today in Moscow. Countries at the consultation meeting on 5-6 December agreed to set up an antimicrobial resistance laboratory network, with the active participation of the main animal health and food safety laboratories involved in the detection of AMR in the six countries of the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tajikistan.
The survival of our species and of the planet itself depends on a healthy and biodiverse plant ecosystem. As part of its work to conserve biodiversity and encourage sustainable agriculture FAO is organizing a virtual event for countries of Europe and Central Asia today on current issues in plant protection. The webinar will address new phytosanitary treatments adopted and applied internationally, as well as the use of biological control agents for pest control.

Under the annual theme “Preventing antimicrobial resistance together,” the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is planning various activities during the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2022 to raise awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Europe and Central Asia.