Press Release

Scaling up global collaboration to eradicate deadly animal diseases

The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH founded as OIE), together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) gathered animal health experts, resource partners and Ministers at FAO’s headquarters in Rome today to introduce a landmark book celebrating the eradication of rinderpest, and to launch the next phase of global efforts against peste des petits ruminants (PPR). 

Celebrating rinderpest eradication

In 2011, the world was finally declared free of rinderpest. This was the first animal disease to have ever been eradicated, thanks to decades of internationally concerted effort. This highly contagious disease had a long history of loss in animal populations and resulting economic disruption. The far-reaching implications of the “cattle plague” at social and economic levels called for tremendous efforts and collaboration between international partners.

Today, we celebrate this achievement by publishing the book “Rinderpest and its eradication”. With more than 100 contributors and co-authored by WOAH and FAO, the book reviews the scientific expertise put into eradication efforts, the contributions by United Nations (UN) agencies and other international organisations and the outstanding role played by the national Veterinary Services involved.

Working together, in the long run, is one of the main lessons learnt from the rinderpest eradication.

Dr Montserrat Arroyo, Deputy Director General – International Standards and Science, World Organisation for Animal Health

Ever since the last case of rinderpest, WOAH has continued to work closely with FAO to ensure the maintenance of global freedom from the disease, and the destruction or safe storage of all materials containing the rinderpest virus. Based on the successful eradication of the disease, important lessons for the fight against other animal diseases, such as PPR, can be drawn.

Ending PPR by 2030

PPR is a deadly disease affecting primarily goats and sheep that has severe negative socio-economic impacts on the income of livestock farmers. This affects the livelihoods and food security of the most vulnerable rural communities, particularly those of women. To stop its spread, WOAH and FAO developed the PPR Global Control and Eradication Strategy (PPR GCES) and set the goal of eradicating the disease by 2030, under the umbrella of the Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs).

After five years of implementation, WOAH and FAO launched the revision of this first phase to capitalise on previous challenges and successes and develop a new vision to conduct PPR eradication. Today, we launch the second phase of the PPR Global Eradication Plan (GEP II) and the Blueprint, a framework of recommended actions for countries and regions towards PPR freedom by 2030.  

Taking into account the lessons learnt and emerging priorities, this next five-year phase aims to consolidate and build on the achievements of GEP I. Thus, while the eradication of PPR remains a key focus of this plan, the need to build a robust animal health sector for the sustainable control of current and emerging animal health threats will underpin the efforts against PPR.

We have managed to rid the world of an animal disease in the past, and we can do it again. Benefitting from the rinderpest eradication experience and the PPR GEP first phase’s review, we can tackle this deadly disease of sheep and goats, collectively tracking milestones towards PPR virus eradication, with the target to declare the world free of PPR.