Bureau régional de la FAO pour le Proche-Orient et l’Afrique du Nord


@fao-RNE FAO Rep in Egypt with key guests

Building on the success of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) –Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) partnership, the FAO Director General and the US Ambassador in Rome signed a new global grant agreement of USD 87 million in Rome on 20th October 2015. This grant will support implementation of the Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT-2) program in Africa, Asia and Near East. The EPT2 programme (2015-2019) represents part of the USA’s investment into the country-led Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) to accelerate progress in ensuring countries have robust systems in place to prevent, detect and respond to infectious diseases with potential to occur as pandemics and also to curb the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The Regional Launch for FAO Component of the USAID EPT-2 Programme in the Near East took place at the Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel, Cairo, on 31st January 2016.

The objectives of the Meeting were to:
1. Officially launch the USAID EPT-2 programme and introduce the objectives and key activities to relevant stakeholders in Egypt, Jordan, and Sudan.
2. Hold high level discussion and agree on modalities of implementation.
3. Identify opportunities for synergy and functional partnerships amongst key national, regional and international institutions/organizations including the EPT-2 implementing partners

The meeting was officially opened by Dr. Saed Gad El Mola, Undersecretary of Veterinary Quarantine Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MoALR), Egypt and Dr. Pasquale Steduto, Deputy Regional Representative for FAO Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa (RNE) and FAO Representative to Egypt. Follow-up opening remarks were made by Dr. Kamal El Sheikh, Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) and Undersecretary of Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rangelands of Sudan, Dr. Majed Hawaosha, Head of Animal Health Service at the Ministry of Agriculture, Jordan, and National Project Coordinator for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and FAO Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) in Jordan for transboundary animal diseases (TADs) surveillances.

The FAO Representatives or their delegates in Egypt, Jordan and Sudan attended the meeting and made brief remarks. The meeting also brought together representatives of the Veterinary Services of Egypt, Jordan and Sudan, representatives from USAID, Reference Laboratory for Quality Control on Poultry Production (RLQP), Central Laboratory for Evaluation of Veterinary Biologicals (CLEVB), Veterinary Serum and Vaccine Research Institute (VSVRI), World Health Organisation (WHO), U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS), U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (US-NAMRU3), PREDICT-2(one of the USAID EPT-2 implementing partners) as well as staff of the FAO Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD)-Egypt and FAO-Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa (FAO-RNE) have attended the meeting.

The proceedings of the meeting enabled the participants to address the various topics in the agenda that included:

- Overall presentation of the FAO component of the USAID EPT-2 Programme at global, regional and country levels (by Dr. Subhash Morzaria, FAO EPT-2 Programme Global Coordinator)

- An update of the Egypt EPT-2 Program (by Dr. Yilma Jobre Makonnen, Team Leader, ECTAD-Egypt)

- An overview of the EPT-2 Programme in the Near East with focus on Jordan and Sudan (by Dr. Markos Tibbo, Livestock Officer, FAO-RNE)

- FAO EPT-2 implementation and reporting modalities (by Dr. Yilma Makonnen, Team Leader, ECTAD-Egypt).

The broader dimension of the EPT-2 programme is aimed at defining livestock production systems, understanding value chains (webs) and markets, identifying risks, conducting cross-section and longitudinal risk-based surveillances, strengthening laboratory and surveillance capacities, and support policy development to mitigate the negative health and environment impacts of growth in livestock sector.

The EPT-2 programme will promote links between animal health and public health sectors through a One Health and foster collaboration between key players in addressing the origins for disease emergence and spread, and the importance of tackling a pandemic at its animal source.

The participants of EPT-2 Programme Regional Launch Meeting:

1. Warmly welcomed the USAID EPT-2 Programme presented by FAO and expressed commitment to achieve the expected outputs.
2. Agreed on the implementation modalities to coordinate the activities at epi-zonal level.
3. Agreed that FAO expands the ECTAD-Egypt to become a Regional ECTAD structure for the Near East and North Africa (NENA) to provide technical backstopping, operational support and effective coordination in order to ensure proper project delivery.
4. Support that FAO works with national partners to leverage the existing funds to mobilise additional resources to the establishment of ECTAD country units in the region and to broaden its scope to address priority animal and public health concerns.
5. Considered MERS-CoV and Avian Influenza as the starting entry points to expand the work of Regional ECTAD to address other priority diseases (zoonotic and non-zoonotic animal diseases)
6. Agreed that by the end of February 2016, FAO, in collaboration with target countries, prepare a country level consultation leading to the development of detailed implementation plan (DIP) for the current project year (until September 30, 2016).
7. Requested that regular communications be defined and implemented in order to enhance good collaboration between relevant partners.
8. Requested that country-level implementing partners identified during the planned DIP meeting to be held in February 2016.

The participants of the Regional Launch expressed their appreciation to the representatives of the target countries for embracing the FAO component of the USAID EPT-2 programme and commitments they bestowed to implement it. The participants thanked the national and international partners for their substantive contributions in concluding the regional launch.