Bangkok, Thailand

2nd FAO/OIE Global Conference on foot-and-mouth disease (Bangkok)

Veterinary services and the international community join efforts to control foot-and-mouth disease.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) are joining forces to combat foot-and-mouth disease on a global scale, laying out a detailed strategy today to bring the devastating livestock disease under control. The two organizations underlined, however, that only solid commitment from global partners will make the strategy possible, as they opened an international meeting in Bangkok supported by the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.

Chairing the opening session of the FAO/OIE global conference in Bangkok on Wednesday, in the presence of amongst others the Thai Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the OIE DG and the FAO ADG, Thai Deputy Prime Minister, H.E. Chumpol Silpa-archa ensured that “Thailand is working for the further accomplishment of FMD freedom by 2015 in an eastern region pilot zone of the country as well as at ASEAN regional level by 2020.”   

Read the full OIE press release here…

More than 1 billion smallholder farmers around the world depend on livestock for their livelihoods, but outbreaks of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) inflict an estimated annual global loss of USD 5 billion.

Developing countries are often hardest hit by FMD, a highly-contagious viral disease, with small farmers suffering devastating impacts to their earnings and survival. Consumers are also affected as they pay more for milk, meat and other foodstuffs when FMD fells livestock.

Foot-and-mouth disease affects cattle, swine, sheep, goats and other ruminants, as well as a number of wildlife species.

The global strategy developed by FAO and OIE advises countries on their risk management policy for controlling FMD outbreaks, allowing them to take early steps to prevent the disease from spreading to other farms, communities and across borders.

Partnerships needed for capacity development….

The Strategy will make a big impact not only on decreasing the ravage of FMD, but improve countries’ situation with regard to many other diseases, some which affect human health directly, the joint FAO/OIE statement added.

“For the Global Strategy to succeed it needs more than the partnership of FAO and OIE; it needs the producers and marketing sectors to participate as well as the veterinary services, the pharmaceutical and vaccine companies, and it will need sustained support from financial institutions and the generosity of funders,” FAO’s assistant director-general Hiroyuki Konuma told those attending the three-day FAO/OIE Global Conference on Foot-and-Mouth Disease Control, which ran from 27 to 29 June.

High-level officials from regional and international organizations participated in the discussions over the strategy at the Bangkok conference, along with experts and donors. The conference was the second on FMD, with the first having taken place in Asunción, Paraguay in 2009

Read the full OIE press release here…

The African perspective….

African countries represented at the Conference (22) were Botswana, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Presentations of the African perspective were made by Drs. M. Letshwenyo (Botswana), K. Tounkara (Mali), M. Mulumba (Botswana), S. Wekesa (Kenya) and J. Berrada (Morocco), while other speakers such as Dr. William Karesh (Chairman of the OIE Working Group on wildlife) and Dr. Gideon Bruckner (Chairman of the OIE Scientific Committee on Animal Diseases) also highlighted the specific constraints African countries are facing, especially with regard to the circulation of SAT-viruses, not just in southern Africa, but also in the Maghreb region (Libya and Egypt).

A major part of the Conference’s programme was geared towards informing participants of the ins and outs of the Progressive Control Pathway for FMD (PCP) and its relationship with the PVS Pathway on quality of veterinary services, the two aspects (disease control and veterinary services) being intrinsically linked.

Today most of the countries listed as at stage 0 of the PCP (34) are African countries, while countries at stages 1 and 2 (12, 8 respectively) are found in Eurasia mostly.

Important to note as well that the Seychelles are part of those countries which are historically free of FMD.

Similarly, today, exports of live animals and meat per inhabitant is around 1 kg/cap. In countries at stage 0 of the PCP, increasing to 42 kg/cap. for countries at stages 4 and 5, while countries currently recognized as free from FMD by the OIE export around 65 kg/cap.

The price-tag….

The World Bank presented a provisional costing of the FMD programme for the first 5 years, estimated at USD 820 million, most of which (84 %) would be allocated to vaccination at country level (USD 694 million, excluding China and India), 8 % or USD 68 million to other country actions in 79 countries in the initial PCP stages 0 – 2, while 6 % would serve the purpose of regional coordination (USD 47 million) and 1 % of global coordination (USD 11 million).

As one of the main FMD affected continents, Africa would benefit of around 49 % of this budget. Country budgets, in average, excluding vaccination, would be around USD 863,000 for 5 years, with most of the funds being allocated to low and lower-middle income countries.

The budget for vaccinations would be directed to 45 countries at PCP stages 1 – 3, not including China and India, and is based on an average cost per dose of USD 1.5, which is probably appropriate for SAT and Asia 1 vaccines, but over-estimated for type O and A – based vaccines. The average cost of vaccination per country is thus estimated at USD 15 million.

While cost-recovery is feasible in countries where farmers may regard FMD as important from a trade or disease perspective, free vaccinations may have to be considered in regions of the world where farmers do not regard FMD as an important disease (due to the absence of trade incentives) or do not register many production losses (due to the endemic nature of the disease).

While these figures need further fine-tuning and increased detail per region, they offer a broad idea of the extent of the challenges ahead. Compared to an estimated annual cost/loss of USD 5 billion worldwide, the return on investment for the international community would be more than just profitable, especially if one takes into account important non-financial aspects of cattle production (in Africa), such as the cultural, religious and social values of ruminant production, as well as indirect financial benefits such as increased crop production through manure and animal traction.

Only time will tell whether national governments and the international donor community are willing and able to commit to this global effort to combat FMD, not just for the initial 5 years, but at least towards the current goal of achieving worldwide control by 2020 and possible eradication in the decades beyond 2020, as has been the case with the successful eradication of rinderpest. By year 15 of the programme, all countries are expected to improve their PCP stages by at least two stage-steps, i.e. at least from 0 to 2 and at best from 3 to 5, where relevant.

Not a standalone FMD strategy…

The recommendations that emerged from the Conference emphasise the inter-dependence and spill-over effects of good governance of veterinary services, FMD control and the control of other relevant TADs and zoonoses. Controlling FMD without improving veterinary governance is pointless, and may only be relevant to farmers who do not consider FMD as very important if it also benefits the control of other diseases they find important.


All pictures (c) P. Bastiaensen (oie) 2012, except where mentioned otherwise.

"Foot-and-mouth disease is not a priority in many countries, but when it strikes damages are enormous, ranging from losses in production to culling of animals and trade bans. Good governance of national Veterinary Services using the OIE PVS Pathway is a critical element of mitigating foot-and-mouth disease with a positive impact on food security and poverty. Besides global control is in the interest of FMD-free countries because it avoids reintroduction of the disease on their territory”

Dr Bernard Vallat, OIE Director - General

Download the Conference Proceedings

Download the FAO - OIE Progressive Control Pathway for FMD : Principles, Stage Descriptions and Standards

Global Foot and Mouth Disease Control Strategy

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All pictures (c) P. Bastiaensen (oie) 2012, except where mentioned otherwise.

More information :

Asuncion, Paraguay

First FAO/OIE Global Conference on foot-and-mouth disease (Asuncion)

June 26, 2009
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