27/04/2018 - 

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), through their joint PPR Secretariat, organized, in collaboration with the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, the inaugural meeting of the PPR-Global Research and experts Network (PPR GREN) in Vienna (Austria) from 17 to 19 April 2018. The meeting brought together representatives from FAO/OIE PPR Reference Laboratories, Research Institutes, National Veterinary Research Institutes, Wildlife Conservation and Civil Society Organizations, Vaccine manufacturers, Regional Economic Communities, PPR experts, AU-PANVAC, Joint FAO/IAEA Division, FAO and OIE. The meeting was officially opened by Dr Meera Venkatesh, acting Deputy Director General for Nuclear Sciences and Applications, IAEA, Dr Matthew Stone, Deputy Director General of the OIE, International Standards and Science and Dr Berhe Tekola, Director of Animal Production and Health Division, FAO.

PPR GREN is driven by the vision to enable research and expertise by networking in support of the PPR Global Eradication Programme (PPR GEP). The goal is to promote and initiate an integrated, comprehensive research and expertise network that capitalizes upon synergies to eliminate the threat posed by small ruminant diseases (with a special focus on PPR) to protect biodiversity, and improve the livelihoods, food security and health of people nationally, regionally and globally.

PPR GREN is established as a forum for scientific and technical consultations to foster a science based and innovative debate on PPR. In this regard, GREN shall (i) serve as a communication and technology sharing gateway for the PPR GEP to coordinate inclusive field collaboration across the PPR GEP community; (ii) identify and prioritize research opportunities within the strategic needs of the PPR-GEP, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders; (iii) build strong partnerships between research institutions, academia, national, regional and international organisations and laboratories, and well-recognised experts, the private sector and development partners; (iv) play important advocacy and science translation roles for policy-makers and donors at national, regional and international levels; (v) promote strategic, gender responsive, and multi-disciplinary research to better understand PPR epidemiology including at the livestock/wildlife interface; (vi) disseminate new knowledge about the virus and the disease, together with improved methods of control to significantly accelerate the progressive control and eradication of PPR, including thermo-tolerant vaccines, DIVA vaccines and diagnostic assays, or combined vaccines against several diseases; (vii) encourage more research in socio-economics, incentives for community participation, and vaccine delivery systems; (viii) contribute to capacity building on improved understanding of PPR issues, including a focus on national capability (including participatory epidemiology), through existing evidence and/or generation of new knowledge; and (ix) act as technical adviser for PPR GEP Secretariat and PPR Advisory Committee, established in June 2017.

The participants elected a bureau of five members chaired by Adama Diallo, CIRAD and composed by Amanda Fine/Wildlife Conservation Society, Jeremy Salt/GALVmed, Hamid R. Varshovi/Razi Institute, Iran and Barbara Wieland/ILRI.

Priority research needs to inform PPR control and eradication have been identified around five thematic areas: (i) PPR epidemiology including socio-economic factors and the livestock-wildlife interface; (ii) PPR diagnostic; (iii) PPR vaccines and delivery and (iv) Outreach, advocacy and communication, in order to facilitate awareness raising, resource mobilization, and both local and national participation in the PPR GEP.

The meeting also discussed funding opportunities and data collection, sharing and analysis.

Participation in PPR GREN is on a voluntary basis. Members could be individuals or institutions sharing PPR-GREN’s vision and participating in its actions. Members agree to participate and engage actively in the PPR GEP as a dynamic and inclusive platform for evidence-based policy dialogue, knowledge exchange, and joint action at global, regional and national levels, supporting the achievement of PPR eradication.

PPR GREN will maintain a global perspective to operate through a number of regional or sub-regional groups. Its meetings will be organized on an annual basis.