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AKIPRESS.COM - The FAO is hosting a meeting on transboundary animal diseases on 27–28 June in Istanbul. Attending the meeting are chief veterinary officers and other experts from the governments of Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
FAO and its partners recognize that today is a critical time to address transboundary animal diseases, and this unique multilateral meeting is a sign of strong regional commitment to this issue.
Diseases like foot-and-mouth disease, which affects cattle, and peste des petits ruminants (pest of small ruminants), which affects sheep and goats, are extremely prevalent in Central, Southern and Western Asia. When they strike, they can have devastating impacts on peoples’ lives and national economies. If peste des petits ruminants isn’t controlled quickly in such places, for example, it can easily wipe out a small-scale pastoralist’s flock of sheep, causing food insufficiency and forcing already poor families deeper into poverty.
Conversely, if managed well, the livestock sector plays a decisive role in the economic growth of countries. In Pakistan, for example, livestock contribute 11 percent to the agricultural gross domestic product (GDP), largely through milk production. FAO also estimates that agriculture accounts for 25 percent of the GDP in Tajikistan and almost 18 percent in Uzbekistan. Healthier livestock – achieved through smarter rearing practices, sustainable feeding techniques, and simple preventative disease control – would further increase livestock’s contribution to GDPs and provide improved food security for millions more people.
This two-day multilateral meeting has been organized jointly by the FAO Representations in Turkey and Afghanistan, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock of the Government of Afghanistan. The meeting is additionally supported by the veterinary organizations of the governments of Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It is part of a wider effort that FAO is supporting globally to improve the prevention of transboundary animal and animal-related human diseases.