• Work Package 3

  • WP3: Conflict, migration and virus spread

  • Work package objective: WP3

    This work package (WP), led by SIVtro Veterinarians Without Borders Italy and the European University Institute (EUI), aimed to generate data and knowledge on whether and how mixed human migration and conflicts affect human mobility, informal trades and other local dynamics with implications on risks related to animal infectious disease spread.

  • WP3

Work package WP3: Aims

Specifically, three target areas were identified for cross-border analysis: border zones between Syria and Lebanon, between the Balkans and Bulgaria/Greece and between Romania, Ukraine and Moldavia. These areas were selected because of tensions within and amongst countries in the area and/or because they were directly involved in major migration land routes (specifically the Western Balkan route have been studied). Moreover these countries were considered relevant because of the presence (in the recent past or during the project) of either African swine fever (ASF) and/or lumpy skin disease (LSD).

The WP applied a locally tailored methodology that was defined for each of the three target areas, capitalising on existing local networks. Utilising Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and Participatory Epidemiology (PE), data and info were collected with the aim to highlight the impact of the conflict on the reshaping of:

1) people and livestock mobility

2) informal commercial routes and movements and

3) presence of animals in refugees camps

4) other social factors implicated in the spreading of infectious animal diseases.

These elements were analysed to support the understanding and the management of disease emergence and spreading in the areas. More specifically, the work entailed assessing the relevant implications related to conflict-associated changes on potential animal disease transmissions, with a specific concern for transboundary diseases such as ASF and LSD, even if the findings and final recommendation could be extended to other infectious animal diseases.

A key finding was that mixed human migration along the West Balkan Routes itself is not a key driver for introducing both diseases while civil war and conflicts lead to a breakdown in veterinary public services and official settings, with a disruption of formal trade patterns and the increase of informal cross-border commercial networks which can contribute to the emergence and spreading of animal disease.

Data collected have been shared with local partners and other WPs to support their work and possible decision-making in target areas. Moreover, communication materials for project results dissemination and communication have been developed (at different levels, including to end users).