The Scientific Task Force on Wildlife and Ecosystem Health is modeled after the Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds that was created to address the serious pandemic of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 in 2003. The emergence of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza had broad impacts in the health of humans, livestock, and wildlife and serious conservation concerns (impacting the remaining population of the threatened bar-headed goose).
The AI Task Force is also co-convened by the United Nations Environmental Program- Convention on Migratory Species and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Click *here to go to the AI Task Force website.
At the December 2008 Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Conference of the Parties (COP)called upon FAO and UNEP CMS to co-convene a second task force, the Scientific Task Force on Wildlife Diseases, to expand on the successful accomplishments of the Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza utilizing a One Health approach to create a new task force called the Scientific Task Force on Wildlife Diseases. The specific mandate given to the Task Force by the COP included identifying wildlife diseases of high priority with respect to human, environmental, livestock, and wildlife health in hopes of recognizing diseases with devastating potential before they emerge.
After the launching workshop in 2011, a change of name was requested to better reflect the goals of the task force. The new name selected was the Scientific Task Force on Wildlife and Ecosystem Health. This change was then supported at the UNEP-CMS Conference of the parties in November 2011 where the following resolution was passed directly supporting the Task Force.
In June 2011 the launching workshop for the Scientific Task Force on Wildlife and Ecosystem Health took place in Beijing, People’s Republic of China. There were 22 colleagues in attendance from 12 different countries representing 15 separate organizations. Inputs from an additional three organizations were obtained prior to the launching as these groups were unable to attend, but still interested in participating.
The agenda for the two day meeting included discussion about the Terms of Reference for the group, membership qualifications, communication strategies, wildlife health reporting, and the specific work plan for the coming months.