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Panorama PerspectivesGBADs’ time is now

Perspectives Posted on 2021-08-16 11:12:15

GBADs’ time is now


S. Mesenhowski (1)* & A. Tollervey (2)

(1) Senior Program Officer Global Growth & Opportunity (GGO), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Washington, United States of America.
(2) Senior Livelihoods Adviser, Research and Evidence Division, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, United Kingdom.

* Corresponding author:

The designations and denominations employed and the presentation of the material in this article do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the OIE concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers and boundaries.
The views expressed in this article are solely the responsibility of the author(s). The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers, whether or not these have been patented, does not imply that these have been endorsed or recommended by the OIE in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.

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The importance of precisely prioritised interventions in animal health has never been more apparent, and the GBADs tool will bring that capability to livestock keepers around the world.
A global resource such as the Global Burden of Animal Diseases (GBADs) programme will transform livestock investment decisions made by those throughout the sector, from small-scale producers to national government officials, in the next ten years. Through GBADs, prioritising animal health interventions will become evidence-based, enabling better use of resources and resulting in healthier, more productive livestock around the world.

GBADs’ innovative methodology for determining the economic burden caused by animal diseases, including those that are often under-emphasised, will shed light on the daily realities faced by livestock keepers that prevent them from maximising their livelihoods. This collaborative effort brings together experts who have long been working on the critical themes featured in GBADs and offers an opportunity to align efforts towards a cohesive and cooperative global public good, amplified by the expertise of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

In the current context of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the interrelatedness of animal, human and environmental health is clear. Moreover, diseases of zoonotic potential, emerging diseases, neglected tropical diseases, and diseases of economic significance are often competing for limited resources from livestock keepers and the public and private sector. And, while livestock contributes 40% of the global agricultural gross domestic product (GDP) [1], and 5% of the overall world GDP [2], the sector competes for just 2.5% of agricultural official development assistance (ODA) [3], thus highlighting the need for better evidence to design and prioritise the most effective animal health interventions that will have the greatest impact.

GBADs will identify weaknesses in the distribution of animal health resources and technology

GBADs’ time is now because this tool will identify weaknesses in the distribution of animal health resources and technology and enhance the allocation of such resources by generating better information on livestock and aquatic systems. The programme will enable better animal health management, which in turn will have positive impacts on agricultural productivity and increase household incomes for small-scale producers around the world, lessening their vulnerability to climate change and other shocks.


  1. Salmon G.R., MacLeod M., Claxton J.R., Pica Ciamarra U., Robinson T., Duncan A. & Peters A.R. (2020). – Exploring the landscape of livestock ‘Facts’. Global Food Sec., 25.
  2. Global Livestock Advocacy for sustainable Development (GLAD). – Why Livestock Matter. Prosperity.
  3. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). – AIDmonitor. Analyse by sector.

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