Towards a Safer World (TASW) is a multi-stakeholder network  of practitioners on whole of society preparedness for pandemics  and comparable threats, led by the UN System.
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Newsletter, February 2015



WHO-OIE Operational Framework for Good governance at the human-animal interface: Bridging WHO and OIE tools for the assessment of national capacities

Authors: WHO, OIE   

OIE:  The importance of Animal Health for Global Health Security
Friday the 26th of September 2014, Dr Vallat, Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health, gave a speech in front of the international decisions makers during the 4th Meeting of the Global Health and Security Agenda (GHSA), organised in Washington DC in presence of the USA president, Barack Obama and representatives of Governments of more than 40 countries. 

African Livestock Futures: Realizing the potential of livestock for food security, poverty reduction and the environment in Sub-Saharan Africa
4 August 2014 - New research, the African Livestock Futures Study investigating plausible trajectories for African livestock up to 2050, indicates potential for growth in livestock production and demand in Africa, contributing greatly to wealth, employment, economic growth as well as to the resilience and productivity of producers’ livelihoods, and to the food security, nutrition and sustainable development of all. 



“On 11 October 2014, the first European guidelines on syndromic surveillance in human and animal health, the ‘Triple-S guidelines for designing and implementing a syndromic surveillance system’, were published [1].The guidelines are one of the main outcomes of the European Union (EU) –funded project ‘Triple-S’, which main aim has been to increase the European capacity for near-real time surveillance and monitoring of health-related events in the animal and the human health sectors. …” 

FAO Regional Response Programme West Africa Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak

October 2014 - September 2015  



Community Resilience to Emerging Infectious Diseases as part of local disaster risk reduction in Cambodia
Emerging diseases pose a most challenging threat to both the health system in the affected countries and the community at large especially when pandemic becomes a disaster. To cope with this situation, health and community system need to be reoriented to deal with a specific situation while being better prepared for similar threats or foreseeable conditions in the future.


Development of the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

Zero draft submitted by the co-Chairs of the Preparatory Committee (20 October 2014)

Transmitted herewith is the zero draft of the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction, brought to the attention of the second session of the Preparatory Committee of the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction to be held in Geneva from 17 to 18 November 2014.

Progress and challenges in disaster risk reduction: a contribution towards the development of policy indicators for the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction


This publication provides an in-depth analysis of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) Progress Reports presented by countries to date as a first step towards the design of a new progress monitoring system. An analysis of progress has been presented in each of the biennial United Nations Global Assessment Reports on Disaster Risk Reduction (2009, 2011 and 2013), as well as in a stand-alone 2013 publication, the report Implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action - Summary of reports 2007-2013. 

Prevention and Preparedness Can Substantially Reduce Impact of Disasters
While not all disasters can be avoided, effective planning and preparedness can help mitigate their impact.
These are among the key findings from Learning from Megadisasters, a joint report by the World Bank Group and the Government of Japan released today that focuses on the disaster and risk management lessons learned from Japan’s megadisaster: the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. This was the first disaster ever recorded that included an earthquake, a tsunami, a nuclear power plant accident, a power supply failure, and a large-scale disruption of supply chains – with global consequences for several industries.

FAO: Quarterly Early Warning Bulletin For Food And Agriculture, NO. 14, January-March 2015

The Quarterly Early Warning Bulletin for Food and Agriculture integrates information on food security and threats to the food chain for the three months ahead. It is a product of collaboration between the Emergency Prevention System (EMPRES) for transboundary animal and plant pests and diseases and food safety threats, the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS), and the Intelligence and Coordination Unit of the Food Chain Crisis Management Framework (FCC). Data is provided by GIEWS and EMPRES.
Red Cross Launches Emergency Preparedness App for Children
Free ‘Monster Guard App’ is fun game for 7- to 11-year-olds to learn about disasters
WASHINGTON, Thursday, November 6, 2014 — A new American Red Cross app helps children between the ages of 7 and 11 learn emergency preparedness while playing a game as monster characters.
The free app, “Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies,” is a game to teach children how to prevent emergencies such as home fires and how help them to stay safe if severe weather or natural disasters occur.

A Partnership to Share Open Geospatial Data to Support the Ebola Emergency Response
The Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction (GFDRR) provided targeted support to help control of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014-15.  The support entailed establishment (with partners) of a website to share geospatial data critical to the monitoring of the progression of the contagion, assets available to address it, and planning of response strategies.  This became the official geospatial data sharing platform of UNMEER. 
A short story with more information:
A link to the geospatial data sharing site (geonode):  (use of Google Chrome or a recent browser is recommended)

Disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction for resilient, inclusive and equitable societies
PreventionWeb: Recent data indicates that persons with disabilities are twice more likely to die than the general population when a disaster occurs. However, many Governments do not incorporate a disability perspective into legal frameworks, policies, and action plans for disaster risk reduction. Physical infrastructures and disaster response services do not incorporate universal design principles, public service announcements are often issued in formats and language that are not accessible by persons with disabilities, and emergency exits, shelters, and facilities tend not to be barrier-free. 



CDC: In the U.S., public health can be affected by disruptions of physical, biological, and ecological systems, including disturbances originating here and elsewhere. The health effects of these disruptions include increased respiratory and cardiovascular disease, injuries and premature deaths related to extreme weather events, changes in the prevalence and geographical distribution of food- and water-borne illnesses and other infectious diseases, and threats to mental health.

WHO: Quantitative risk assessment of the effects of climate change on selected causes of death, 2030s and 2050s
The assessment takes into account a subset of the possible health impacts, and assumes continued economic growth and health progress. Even under these conditions, it concludes that climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050; 38 000 due to heat exposure in elderly people, 48 000 due to diarrhoea, 60 000 due to malaria, and 95 000 due to childhood undernutrition. Results indicate that the burden of disease from climate change in the future will continue to fall mainly on children in developing countries, but that other population groups will be increasingly affected.
Experts: Include Ocean Acidification in Climate Change Negotiations
Monaco – Actions to mitigate and adapt to ocean acidification in a future global climate deal could make the agreement stronger and facilitate its implementation. That was one of the conclusions from last week’s international workshop on ocean acidification organised by the IAEA in Monaco.

Report: Climate Change Impacts in the United States - Health Section  
Climate change threatens human health and well-being in many ways, including impacts from increased extreme weather events, wildfire, decreased air quality, and illnesses transmitted by food, water, and diseases carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks.


FAO: Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities Annual Report (July 2013 - June 2014)

The Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities(SFERA) enables the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to take rapid and effective action in response to food and agricultural threats and emergencies. The Fund has three components: (i) a working capital component to advance funds once a donor’s commitment is secured toward the immediate procurement of inputs to protect livelihoods, restart agricultural activities or contribute to an immediate response to a crisis; (ii) a revolving fund component to support FAO's involvement in needs assessment, programme development, early establishment and reinforcement of emergency country team capacities, as well as Level 3 emergency preparedness and response activities; and (iii) a programme component, which pools resources in support of a programme framework for large-scale emergencies.

PLOS Currents 

Five studies of preparedness for natural disasters were identified. ..... that 12.5% of people drank un-boiled tap water, 78% of respondents followed the advice to ...

Investigating the zoonotic origin of the West African Ebola epidemic  

EMBO Molecular Medicine

Abstract:  The severe Ebola virus disease epidemic occurring in West Africa stems from a single zoonotic transmission event to a 2]year]old boy in Meliandou, Guinea. We investigated the zoonotic origins of the epidemic using wildlife surveys, interviews, and molecular analyses of bat and environmental samples. We found no evidence for a concurrent outbreak in larger wildlife. 

The Global One Health Paradigm: Challenges and Opportunities for Tackling Infectious Diseases at the Human, Animal, and Environment Interface in Low-Resource Settings

PLOS Journals

Abstract: “Zoonotic infectious diseases have been an important concern to humankind for more than 10,000 years. Today, approximately 75% of newly emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are zoonoses that result from various anthropogenic, genetic, ecologic, socioeconomic, and climatic factors. These interrelated driving forces make it difficult to predict and to prevent zoonotic EIDs. 


Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

14 - 18 March, Sendai Japan

The TASW session at the World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) will be held on 13th March (14.30-16.30), it will be by invitation only event for members of the network. It will focus on the strategic direction of the TASW Network, the workplan and priority activities for 2015, the link to other professionals DRR networks, and expanding the network memberships .
We would like also to share with you information on the health-related events at conference during 14-18 March 2015.
There are two health-related working sessions at the WCDRR that will definitely benefit from the knowledge and experiences of TASW members, both are held on Sunday 15th March:  
In addition, there will be a Public Forum co-organized by WHO, UNISDR, UNAIDS, and UNFAP on “protecting health from disaster risk” on Tuesday 17th, March 9-5pm at the Multimedia Hall, Kawauchi-Kita Campus, Tohoku University, Sendai. Panels in the Forum will discuss the following topics:
  • Commitments and actions to disaster risk management for health and implementation of the  post-2015 framework for DRR
  • Major initiatives, action and commitments on disaster risk management for health
  • Strengthening preparedness for emergencies, including epidemics and pandemics
  • Strengthening community resilience and community-centred disaster risk management for health
  • Emerging risks, increasing capacities
  • Health in disaster recovery & rehabilitation phase of emergencies
  • Health system strengthening, including safe hospitals

3rd GRF One Health Summit 2015
“Fostering interdisciplinary collaboration for global public and animal health”

October 04 – 07, 2015 - Davos, Switzerland


Workshop on Risk Communications for Public Health Emergencies 2015
Organized by ASEF Public Health Network, September 2015 in Malaysia (date and exact location tba). 

Training and Events calendar on PreventionWeb 


Youth Preparedness Council: 2015 Council Applications Are Now Being Accepted. Any individual between the ages of 13 and 17 who is engaged in individual and community preparedness, or who has experienced a disaster that has motivated him or her to make a positive difference in his or her community, may apply to serve on the Youth Preparedness Council. Applications must be received by March 2, 2015, 11:59 p.m. EST. (FEMA, 1/21/15) 
Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative 2015: Applications Open
The Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative (ELBI) was created to identify, develop, and provide networking opportunities to the next generation of leaders in this exciting, challenging, and multidisciplinary field. Applications are being accepted until January 31, 2015.   


Disaster Prevention UN Website and Resources


Disaster Resilience Journal

Appreciation of Contributions 

TASW network secretariat would like to thank he following agencies and institutions:
  • Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)
  • European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC)
  • EMBO Molecular Medicine 
  • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
  • The Mekong Basin Disease Surveillance (MBDS)
  • PLOS Currents
  • Red Cross
  • The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)
  • The World Bank (WB)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)
for their valuable contributions to this issue of TASW newsletter.

About TASW

Towards a Safer World (TASW) is a multi-stakeholder network  of practitioners on whole of society preparedness for pandemics  and comparable threats, led by the UN System.
The TASW Network is a diverse group of energetic and expert practitioners from a variety of sectors, organisations and countries demonstrated how they had initiated whole-of-society preparedness for pandemic and related threats. They also indicated their commitment to maintaining and refining the best practices they have developed. They agreed to communicate it widely, mainstream it within institutions, sustain it, reach out and engage others who might benefit from it, and to continue to learn from each other. They opted to maintain contact through a network that includes a broad range of partners from government, business, civil society, research groups and the military – from five continents. 
It builds on the significant investments and broad participation in pandemic preparedness since 2005, which have generated many practical lessons and innovations - relevant not only for improving responses to health crises, but also for strengthening societal resilience in the face of other major threats.
TASW Network promotes key good practices including:
  • coordination of multi-actor networks, including professionals from business, Government and civil society,
  • planning for the maintenance of critical services,
  • implementation of communication strategies,
  • simulations to test and validate contingency plans,
  • mobilisation of funds for preparedness and 
  • development of tools for measuring preparedness.

This periodic newsletter provides TASW network members with an opportunity to share recent activities, case studies and developments that may be of wider interest.

Contact us:

To send comments or suggestions please contact Dr. Chadia Wannous, Senior Advisor, 

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