Decision making about Principles 1–6, taken at project initiation and at the farm level, while considering the entire supply chain, will be highly dependent on local political, institutional, and economic contexts. Ensuring that the institutional, knowl¬edge and economic environment enable decision making and innovation for improved sustainability is key to enhancing outcomes, both during and after the project. A strong ena¬bling framework is also key to evaluating the many synergies and trade-offs related to livestock development and require evidence- and consensus-based decisions. Thus, Principle 7 takes a step back and looks at the importance of fostering an enabling environment for sustainability as a whole, with animal health as only one critical aspect.
Fostering an enabling environment is a critical component of taking the One Health approach. The concept of One Health emphasizes the relation between its three main elements, which mirror the structure of this guide: animal, human, and environmental health. It creates a framework for tackling challenges in a more comprehensive manner, beyond the borders of just one element. Therefore, it is critical to foster an enabling environment that allows for cross-sectoral, collaborative interventions for strengthening systems that prevent, prepare for, and respond to challenges - such as infectious diseases - with the aim of improving global health security and achieving gains in sustainable development.
Points of Consideration
Is there potential to improve the enabling environment for sustain¬able livestock investment in the project country? If so, include project resources to:
✓ Identify and analyze the knowledge, awareness, policy, and institutional challenges to implementing the relevant principles at the project concept stage
✓ Include resources to address these challenges at the project design stage, through:
- Shape the livestock and health narrative strategically, flagging synergies and trade-offs
- Raise and leverage producer and consumer awareness of key issues and challenges
- Build consensus and political will
- Build ownership in that every player has a responsibility to protect animal and human health and prevent disease
- Support local pilot programs and extension research to identify appropriate solutions
- Utilize risk-based assessments and analysis to make sustainable health investment decisions within the project context
Pair project investment with policy investment to:
- Establish prevention and early detection programs, and market differentiation for sustainable livestock products
- Pilot programs to incentivize good on-farm management and hygiene practices.
- Establish and clarify regulations for animal health and welfare, adopt relevant international standards and best practices
- Redirect subsidies toward sustainable outcomes
- Establish a unit within the relevant government ministry to perpetuate the enabling environment.
- Develop country capacity for monitoring and evaluation to establish baseline data.
Applying the Principle
The principle can be applied through various avenues, in this case using the framework of an enabling environment that includes awareness, knowledge, policy and institutions.
✓ Strategically shape the livestock and sustainability narrative
Some of the literature on livestock considers animal-source food production to be unsustainable and high risk. However, considering the contributions that livestock make to a broad range of development outcomes conveys a more realistic view. These outcomes include improved food and nutrition security; crop productivity; jobs and income diversification; asset saving and risk management; and biodiversity conservation and carbon stock enhancement on well-managed grasslands. Awareness raising in projects about the importance of sustainable livestock should objectively balance these contributions and account for them in efforts to quantify livestock impacts on animal and human health, as well as on the environment and economy.
✓ Raise and leverage consumer awareness
Consumers increasingly are becoming aware of the health and environmental implications of animal-sourced food consumption. Investment in livestock can benefit from this awareness by linking producers who adopt sustainable practices to demand for sustainable products. Projects can include resources for awareness raising among consumers to help producers under the project link to this demand. Consumer demand may also influence political support for adopting the principles.
✓ Build consensus and political will
Adoption of the principles may not benefit all stakeholders and will often generate costs. Adoption of rigorous standards and costly practices, for example, may adversely impact producer incomes, especially small and medium-sized producers who could have a hard time bearing the cost of adoption. On the other hand, adoption of internationally recognized standards can facilitate trade. Strong political consensus around the importance and urgency of sustainable livestock production practices may be necessary to enable a bal-anced assessment of synergies and trade-offs and put in place the regulations, subsidies, and market-based instruments that can shift production practices. Development investment can contribute to building such consensus and political will for adopting the principles by accounting for risk management, health, or environmental costs in the economic assessment of projects.
✓ Build ownership and responsibility
A One Health approach requires the ownership and responsibility of every player that takes part in the food and health system. Farm operators, workers, processers, transporters, sellers, and consumers all need to take ownership in preventing infections and disease while promoting both animal, human, and environmental health. This can only be done through raising awareness of the various forms of risk across levels and institutions, and ways to best manage them.
✓ Support local pilot programs and extension research
While the literature provides considerable technical guidance to support adoption of the principles, projects will need to provide support for piloting and adopting improved practices for local conditions. Projects should include technical assistance and extension services where necessary to support each principle adopted. Consolidating knowledge and evidence for the local applicability of the principles can help encourage further farmers to adopt them.
✓ Support education and research in the area of sustainable livestock systems
While knowledge is progressing at the global level, it is mostly advancing in high-income countries. The growth of animal production is, however, much more robust in low- to middle-income countries, and much work is still needed to properly grasp livestock-health-environment interactions in these regions, and to establish the technical itineraries that can bring livestock development on a more sustainable path.
✓ Establish prevention and early detection programs, and market differentiation for sustainable livestock products
Prevention and early detection programs are key for managing animal and human health risks, as well as coordinating responses. Certification programs can help link consumer demand for sustainable products to producers who are adopting the principles. Projects may include resources to support producers in adopting existing certification programs, as well as to develop and pilot new, voluntary certifications for products that promote a One Health approach.
✓ Pilot programs to incentivize good on-farm management and hygiene practices
LMICs often have limited funds for incentive-based environmental programs. Pairing project investment with policy instruments to pay or in other ways incentivize producers to adopt the principles may significantly enhance project outcomes. Payments for environmental services programs have proven successful in protecting natural areas in Costa Rica. Carbon offset and other emissions reduction programs in the livestock sector should be linked to national targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions and accounting under Nationally Determined Contributions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
✓ Establish and clarify regulations for animal health and welfare, adopt relevant international standards and best practices
Widely recognized international standards and best practices, such as those found under the Codex Alimentarius are key to both promoting health and facilitating economic growth through trade. Many countries today lack an effective regulatory framework for environmental, health, and welfare issues related to livestock. Pairing project investment with policy investment can significantly enhance the long-term outcomes of the project and of the broader sustainability agenda. Adoption of well-recognized and extensively-used international standards also provides well-established guidelines, transparency, and capacity building through already tested avenues and case studies.
✓ Redirect subsidies toward sustainable outcomes
Agricultural subsidies worldwide amount to about US$1 billion per day and have a range of impacts on animal and human health, as well as natural resources. Current subsidies are often directed towards specific land uses, price, income support for specific agricultural products and practices, and agricultural inputs. Redirecting subsidies to incentivize sustainability can result in positive health and environmental outcomes in livestock investment projects.
✓ Develop country capacity for monitoring and evaluation to establish baseline data and to track and capture investment benefits
Many countries do not collect detailed data on their livestock sector and often fail to collect accurate and consistent data on livestock health management. Projects may include resources to develop monitoring and evaluation capacity to create livestock information systems, drawing on novel information tech¬nology options. Projects may also provide training in survey meth¬odology and in data collection and analysis for livestock numbers, herd structure, disease tracking, monitoring of veterinary services and use of medicine, and production practices, as well as for cost, income, and other economic data.
✓ Establish a health unit within the relevant government ministry/department responsible for livestock
While projects may hire a health expert during implementation, the knowledge and capacities gained through the project may dissipate without a permanent, dedicated office. The project may thus include resources for the establishment of a permanent unit to continue to advance the livestock and health agenda after the project closes. The capacities of such a unit would be developed as part of project activities and may serve to perpetuate the enabling environment for investing in sustainable livestock past the duration of the project. This unit should collaborate with other relevant units, such as environment, for a comprehensive approach that minimizes trade-offs and enhances synergies.