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FAO to launch a new project ‘Emerging Pandemic Threats 2’ to keep animals and humans safe from diseases

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EPT2 SigningCeremony_Copyright_FAO_Ki_Jung_Min_15Ha Noi, 17 Sep 2015 - The Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) Programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Viet Nam is launching the "Emerging Pandemic Threats 2 (EPT2): Risk Mitigation and Management of Human Health Threats along Animal Value Chains" project with the goal of making both livestock and people in Viet Nam safer from potential diseases.

In this globalized world characterized by ever-increasing cross-border movement of animals and people, farming intensification, increasing global demand for livestock and transforming ecosystems it is not a matter of "if" the next zoonotic outbreak or pandemic will take place, but rather, "when". In light of "when", we must take actions to be prepared to detect the event early, rapidly respond, and mitigate the impacts on people, animals, livelihoods, food security, and global economies.

Over the last 8 years, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and FAO have collaborated closely to combat highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 which had significant impacts to the agriculture and public health sectors, trade, and tourism. Significant financial and livelihood impacts were also felt by farmers, traders, vendors and others linked to poultry production, poultry sales and value chains. During this long period of collaboration between MARD and FAO on this zoonotic disease, key activities and outcomes were achieved in areas such as coordination, surveillance, laboratory services, vaccination, biosecurity, socio-economics, communications and advocacy.

Through funding provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the long-standing successful collaboration between FAO ECTAD Viet Nam and MARD will continue, and the new project will build upon successes of the collaborative work accomplished in the HPAI program, fill additional gaps, and result in the Government of Viet Nam becoming even better prepared to detect a disease event early, rapidly respond, and mitigate the impacts on health of people and animals, food security and food safety. Collaboration with MARD Departments of Animal Health (DAH), Livestock Production (DLP), National Agriculture Extension Center (NAEC) and CITES Management Authority of the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry (VN Forest) will enable the new project to succeed.

The four main components of the new project include: 1) Collaborating for One Health at the animal-human-wildlife-ecosystem health interfaces; 2) Making value chains safer to get healthy, disease-free food to our tables; 3) Preventing and controlling diseases based on epidemiological approach; and 4) Strengthening cross-border collaborations in the Lower Mekong and Red River Deltas to better detect and control diseases. While this project focuses largely on a sustainable disease prevention and control of avian influenza and other livestock and zoonotic transboundary diseases, it will also contribute to food safety, food security and improved livelihoods for livestock farmers.

A signing ceremony to celebrate the commencement of the project "Emerging Pandemic Threats 2 (EPT2): Risk Mitigation and Management of Human Health Threats along Animal Value Chains" was held at MARD in Hanoi with the presence of FAO Viet Nam, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), and USAID Viet Nam.

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