SIGMA: a viable approach to optimise data collections on animal diseases and animal populations – Report of the 16th Animal Health and Welfare Network meeting
The SIGMA project originates from an internal review, performed by the Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW) team (EFSA Animal and Plant Health unit), on the current data standards and data collection practices related to certain animal diseases (namely, Avian Influenza, Africa Swine Fever, Lumpy Skin Disease, Echinococcus multilocularis). This was triggered by requests from data providers to simplify the process which, at present, entails a considerable effort for the countries submitting data to EFSA for risk assessment purposes. In addition, EFSA identified the benefits to be gained from a higher degree of standardisation of the data which should be the most up to date and submitted within a timeframe that can be extremely short in case of an outbreak.The pilot phase of the SIGMA project started officially in 2018 and was presented in May 2018 to the members of the AHAW Network. After one year of activities, EFSA wanted to provide an update by illustrating the achievements (the data model, the country cards) and the ongoing activities (the technical questionnaires on the data flows, the study on the legal implications). In addition, EFSA aimed at gathering feedback from the countries engaged in the pilot (Spain, Italy, Croatia, Romania, Austria, Estonia and Bulgaria) and at understanding all possible concerns and suggestions from the countries that did not engage. This report contains all the elements listed above and can be considered a up‐to‐date overview of the SIGMA project.