The authors submit that there is sufficient knowledge of FMD to make an international initiative for the progressive control of FMD a viable objective. Consequently, a four-stage pathway is proposed for developing a global FMD programme. The proposed strategy involves a build-up of the epidemiology and global status of FMD, including establishing an international early warning system, a risk-reduction phase to lower the incidence of FMD in the primary endemic areas and a control phase leading to the creation of zones of assured FMD-freedom. The authors also propose that an international FMD programme be co-ordinated, based on the experience of the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme, the Hemispheric Plan for the eradication of FMD for the Americas, the South-East Asia Foot and Mouth Disease control and eradication campaign and the European Commission for the Control of FMD.