Coping with climate change: the key role of livestock ownership - Enhancing multi-stakeholder partnerships to strengthen rural households’ resilience strategies through animal health interventions

Virtual meeting
1 Oct 2021 -

Pre-COP26 webinar showcases the Peste des petits ruminants Global Eradication Programme as an enabler of climate resilience

On 1st October 2021, nearly 200 participants joined a webinar organised by FAO’s Animal Production and Health Division (NSA), in partnership with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the African Union Commission (AUC-DARBE), entitled ‘Coping with climate change: the key role of livestock ownership’.

Selected by All4Climate – Italy 2021 to form part of the PreCOP26 event series ahead of this year’s UN Climate Summit, the webinar highlighted how small ruminants can protect rural households against climate shocks. Initiatives that improve animal health, for example, the  Peste des Petits Ruminants Global Eradication Programme (PPR GEP), can enhance the livestock sectors’ contribution to climate resilience.

An opening speech set the scene by discussing an empirical research study that demonstrated how livestock buffers household consumption and income against climate shocks such as drought. Goats were found to be a particularly important mobile asset that enables resilience due to their tolerance to climate extremes and of poorer quality forage. Dr Paula Menzies, of the International Goat Association and International Sheep Veterinary Association, highlighted that the 2.5 billion global heads of sheep and goats are mostly owned by the world’s poorest people, and play a major role in food security. Because small ruminants are primarily the business and livelihood of women, they also contribute to female and youth empowerment. Dr Menzies reminded us of the need to view livestock diseases not only as an animal health threat but as a barrier to ending poverty and hunger and attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.

Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is a highly infectious and severely pathogenic viral disease of small ruminants. PPR is the subject of a concerted global effort among stakeholders to eradicate it from the planet, as was achieved for Rinderpest. With rural farming communities also beset by climate crises, the added burden of diseases such as PPR is magnified. Dr Menzies’ made a call for action that ‘Eradicating PPR will sustainably improve the resilience of poor farmers and their communities and foster their capacity to deal with other shocks and threats, mitigating further migratory trends’.

A multistakeholder panel discussion with Keith Sumption (FAO), Matthew Stone (OIE), Pacem Kotchofa (International Livestock Research Institute), Berhe Tekola (FAO) and Praveen Malik (Government of India) further explored the link between climate mitigation and healthy productive livestock, and the PPR GEP as an enabler of small ruminant productivity and positive socioeconomic outcomes.

An effective vaccine makes PPR eradication possible, with concerted efforts. The call to national governments and regional organisations to commit to PPR control and eradication efforts to achieve the vision of global eradication by 2030, therefore, resonates stronger than ever. The eradication of PPR will contribute to the elimination of poverty and drive forward economic and social progress for all, with increased food production, enhanced rural development and sustainable livelihoods, supporting sustainable management and utilization of natural resources, including land, water, air, climate and genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations.




Keywords: Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), Global

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FAO/OIE PPR Global Secretariat
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