This year (2014) is a milestone for the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) as it marks 40 years of livestock research. On 1 October, ILRI headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya marked ‘ILRI@40’ with a conference on livestock-based options for development.
Two weeks later, on 13 October, ILRI in East and Southeast Asia celebrated 40 years of ILRI’s research by holding a gala dinner at Melia Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam on the sidelines of a three-day One Health workshop, which ILRI co-organized.
ILRI in East and Southeast Asia staff from the Vietnam regional office and from the Philippines attended the ILRI@40 gala dinner. European and Southeast Asian participants and partners from the workshop were also the key guests for the evening.
Earlier at the One Health workshop, ILRI gathered insights, through a questionnaire, from epidemiologists, public health practitioners, environmental researchers, experts on critical livestock research opportunities for ILRI in the future. Through the questionnaire, workshop participants gave their responses to the following questions:
- Looking to 2054, what are the two most critical livestock-related One Health challenges we must answer through research?
- What is the most promising ‘best bet’ opportunity we should invest in to achieve healthier lives with livestock in 2054?
In response to the first question, answers were divided into technical/scientific and socio-economic-ecological categories. Under technical/scientific categories, key challenges identified include: emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance, insecticide residue on food given to livestock, developing vaccines based on country surveillance, limiting methane emissions from ruminants and reducing livestock intensification. The socio-economic-ecological challenges highlighted are: sustainable development, food safety and security, increasing income for smallholders, improving health of the village population through improving health of livestock, more educational programmes/materials on zoonotic diseases, dealing with cross-border spread of diseases through monitoring or controlling the movement of infected livestock, increasing public awareness and having a working One Health model.
In the second question, participants said that when addressed adequately, most of the identified challenges could be turned into opportunities for livestock development. The most common answer to this question was on the need to implement a One Health/EcoHealth approach. Disease control and prevention, effective detection system of antibiotic and microbial residue, improved livestock production, reduction in livestock intensification and integration of impact assessments through improved methodologies and frameworks were also highlighted. Participants said healthier lives can be achieved in 2054 through food safety and security, increased income of smallholders, improved health of livestock, which will in turn lead to improved nutrition and sustainable development.
This feedback will contribute to the discussion on ways in which livestock research advances the global development agenda, specifically for sustainable food and nutritional security, economic well-being and healthy lives at an ILRI@40 event in Addis Ababa on 6-7 November.
So here’s hoping for forty more meaningful years of livestock research at ILRI.