The regional branch of the FAO/OIE Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs) for Europe was set up in 2005. It was originally intended to provide a coordinated and effective response to the threat of avian influenza (highly pathogenic avian influenza [HPAI] strain H5N1) affecting several European countries, as well as a multi-stakeholder consultation and coordination platform for defining a longer-term harmonised regional vision and policy for the prevention and control of priority transboundary animal diseases in the region. These diseases include avian influenza (HPAI), foot and mouth disease (FMD), African swine fever (ASF), classical swine fever (CSF), peste des petits ruminants (PPR), rabies and, since 2012, brucellosis, because of its growing epidemiological importance in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Reinforcing Veterinary Services was also selected as a priority theme for action in the region. The GF-TADs branch for Europe is governed by the Regional Steering Committee of GF-TADs for Europe. It is chaired by the Director for Veterinary and International Affairs at the European Commission and supported by the OIE Sub- Regional Representation in Brussels, which provides the Secretariat.
At its Third Meeting (RSC3, Brussels, February 2010), the Regional Steering Committee asked its Secretariat to work on formulating a multi-annual regional action plan (see Recommendation No. 2 of the RSC3), in response to requests from several Member Countries. There was also a forceful call from the Global Steering Committee, co-chaired by the OIE and FAO, to draw up GF-TADs regional action plans as a basis for drafting the GF-TADs Global Action Plan, based on the identification of priorities common to several regions. GF-TADs Europe was the first to start work on its Action Plan, which could provide a basis for the other four regions.
In 2011, a working group, comprising representatives of the OIE, FAO and the European Commission, and guided by the GF-TADs regional Secretariat, was formed to prepare the regional action plan. To avoid the pitfall of duplication of or competition with the actions of donors and organisations or institutions already operating in the region, it is vital to remember that GF-TADs is a consultation mechanism and was not designed to implement programmes or projects. On the other hand, the strength of the Action Plan should be its ability to take into account countries’ demands and needs, expressed at regional animal health meetings. The conclusions and recommendations of the 12 regional meetings held during the 2010–2011 period were studied carefully. Finally, the Action Plan should be coherent, in terms of both objectives and general principles, with the Basic texts of GF-TADs (the GF-TADs Agreement of May 2004), the conclusions of the 2009 GF-TADs evaluation and the institutional strategies of the three flagship organisations (the OIE Fifth Strategic Plan, the FAO ‘One Health’ Action Plan, and the European Commission’s new European Union animal health strategy, ‘Prevention is better than cure’). The GF-TADs label is proof not only of quality, coherence and relevance, which guarantees that the activity is productive while being a priority for the region, but also of OIE and FAO support, which could facilitate the search for funding, where appropriate. The expected outcomes and a list of activities were defined for each disease, which involved holding regional consultations and training meetings and drawing up a portfolio of regional activities for each disease. Of note is the fact that regional activities resulting from a GF-TADs global prevention and control strategy – as is currently the case for FMD (the global strategy for which is presently being drafted) – are labelled automatically. The same applies to GF-TADs labelling of activities underpinning the core activities of GF-TADs Europe, such as Steering Committee meetings or any other activity to support the regional Secretariat. For other activities, it is up to the project leader to submit a request for labelling to the GF-TADs Steering Committee on a purely voluntary basis. The Action Plan is established a posteriori at the end of the year, and includes both the activities that have obtained the GFTADs label and those of the main participants in the sub-region who contribute to the GF-TADs Europe objectives (such as OIE PVS Pathway activities), and are discussed at the regional platform (Regional Steering Committee Meetings).
The effectiveness of GF-TADs will be measured each year, using performance indicators linked chiefly to the epidemiological situation in the region, after establishing the reference situation for each of the indicators selected in 2011. The GF-TADs Action Plan was presented and discussed at the Fourth Meeting of the GF-TADs Europe Steering Committee, held in Brussels in January 2012. Members will officially validate it in late April, at which point it will become operational.
GF-TADs for Europe 2012-2016 Action Plan