Author: Dr Mark Schipp, WOAH Delegate of Australia and Australian Chief Veterinary Officer
Collaboration is a central theme of WOAH’s 7th Strategic Plan, and an important aspect of working together is the development and strengthening of public-private partnerships (PPPs) so that global Veterinary Services are better equipped to anticipate and respond to animal health priorities and challenges.
The Australian delegation to WOAH’s recent 90th General Session comprised both public and private stakeholders, including representatives from the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, State governments, the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the Australian Veterinary Association, Wildlife Health Australia and represented Animal Health Australia, leaders from livestock industry groups, WoolProducers Australia and the Australian Chicken Meat Federation. This collaboration is an example of the value of public-private partnerships, as the opportunities for knowledge-sharing extend into many aspects of agriculture and science, and help to inform discussions and decisions that have global benefits.
WOAH Member countries are encouraged to expand their public-private partnerships as the value of these partnerships to the achievement of WOAH’s goals is considerable, not least the opportunity to make better informed decisions about improving access to and quality of Veterinary Services, including, where appropriate, using public-private partnerships as a delivery option.
Australia has well established public-private partnerships including through Animal Health Australia in terms of emergency animal disease response, preparedness and vaccine banks. We have a diverse range of strong stakeholder relationships with the private sector, including the pharmaceutical industry, private veterinarians, scientific researchers and primary producers. Issues such as animal health surveillance, antimicrobial resistance, wildlife health, and responses to animal disease outbreaks all benefit from this collaborative approach.
An example of the value of such partnerships in Australia is in the live animal export sector where we rely on private veterinarians and commercial exporters to fulfil the animal welfare and export eligibility requirements, with involvement and oversight from government at both federal and State level.
Similarly, there is also much cross-sectoral collaboration between government and the private sector within emergency management, incorporating a range of public-private partnerships to support Australia’s crisis management system. Earlier this year, Australia’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), participated in the WOAH Emergency Management Global Conference – an event where participants’ insights and ideas were captured to outline potential future opportunities for policy, innovation and investment in emergency management.
The WOAH PPP Handbook was developed to provide guidelines for the administration of public-private partnerships in the animal sector. It describes different types of public-private partnerships, how they can be put into operation and the advantages and disadvantages of each. This Handbook can be used in conjunction with the WOAH PVS Tool, which allows Veterinary Authorities to explore the need for public-private partnerships by identifying areas for development within a country’s Veterinary Services.
In WOAH’s ongoing initiative, public-private partnerships have been incorporated into the WOAH PVS Pathway (Terrestrial and Aquatic), and opportunities identified to build WOAH Members’ partnership capacities to tackle specific challenges in the veterinary domain.
WOAH has launched an open-access PPP Database containing global examples of public-private partnerships, which allows interested stakeholders to explore opportunities in diverse areas of animal health, welfare, emergency preparedness, antimicrobial resistance and One Health.
In our dynamic and rapidly changing world, public-private partnerships will become increasingly important to our ability to respond to the animal health priorities and challenges ahead.