Press Release

Tackling shared threats for a safer world: WOAH’s Global Conference on Emergency Management

animal emergencies: Tackling shared threats for a safer world
With complex emergencies threatening global health security, WOAH hosts a first-of-its-kind conference to foster cross-links and dialogue between sectors.

Faced by an ever-changing hazard landscape, experts and stakeholders from a variety of sectors will gather at the Global Conference on Emergency Management taking place on 3-5 April in Paris. 

Risks associated with emergencies have been increasingly catching the world off guard over the past decades. From infectious disease outbreaks to extreme events induced by climate change or natural disasters, these threats can have cascading effects on society as a whole, including animal and public health. The frequency and complexity are only bound to increase, which poses unprecedented challenges to our interconnected ecosystems and threatens global health security.  

This global conference stems from the need to explore solutions to help communities be better prepared against emergencies. Preparedness, however, is never the work of a single sector or the result of stand-alone capacities. Rather, preparedness is a shared responsibility that calls on bold actions from all parts of society. For this reason, the conference will bring together a wide range of interested actors to look at the ways to strengthen the management of emergencies with impacts on animal health and the critical role of Veterinary Services. The threats under discussion include deliberate biological events such as agro-crime and agro-terrorism

We’re seeing more international emergencies as we struggle to deal with their drivers. This means we must prevent emergencies in their tracks and prevent them from becoming international disasters. For the Global Conference on Emergency Management, we are bringing leading global experts to Paris to work together and develop approaches on how to improve sustainable emergency management capability against multiple hazards.

Keith Hamilton, Head of the Preparedness and Resilience Department at WOAH

Preparedness is the cornerstone of a resilient and sustainable future for all. Through a format merging discussions and workshops, this event will offer the opportunity to understand the impacts of hazards on communities, put forward good practices for preparedness and discuss potential approaches to the challenges ahead. The major goal is to advance game-changing solutions and foster much-needed intersectoral collaborations to address global health concerns.

Outbreaks in humans that occur at the human and animal interface result in sickness and death, and cost our economies inordinate sums of money. All this can be prevented by shifting our actions from rapid detection and response to prevention at the animal source. This will allow us to stop using humans as sentinels to identify zoonotic infections in animals.

David Heymann, Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

Thanks to the support of the United States Department of Defense, Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA); Global Affairs Canada’s Weapons Threat Reduction Program; the UK Ministry of Defense and European Union, the conference will bring together around 400 experts in animal, environmental, public health and security sectors, whose knowledge is equally needed to prevent and tackle emergencies. Participants are Delegates of WOAH Members, Emergency Management experts, national Law Enforcement representatives, relevant international and regional organisations, as well as donors and stakeholders with a shared interest in tackling emergencies. Topics of discussion will include research and innovation in emergency management, resource mobilisation, capacity building, risk communication amongst others. Security threats such as cyberthreats and disinformation, will also be addressed.

The Conference will highlight that emergency management needs to take an all-hazards approach involving multiple sectors, strengthen multidisciplinary sectors, promote gender equality and showcase the outcomes of WOAH’s project ‘Building resilience against agro-crime and agro-terrorism’ in partnership with Interpol and FAO.

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