Regional framework for animal disease control
Thursday, 21 January 2010 16:17



The two-day meeting (25 to 26 June 2009) will enable Pacific Island representatives to highlight key animal health issues for consideration under the FAO/OIE Global Framework for progressive control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADS).

The GF-TADS programme is aimed at developing and strengthening regional and national alliances in the fight against animal diseases, such as avian influenza and foot and mouth disease.

In opening the meeting, Dr Teruhide Fujita of OIE stressed the role of livestock in improving human nutrition, food security, livelihoods and agricultural and rural development.

‘We must be aware, however, that animal diseases are a constraint to livestock development, particularly emerging and transboundary animal diseases including zoonoses, which are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans,’ said Dr Fujita.

Dr Fujita said it was difficult for a single country to tackle transboundary animal diseases because of their borderless nature. Building the capacity of veterinary services, improving international cooperation and forming regional alliances to control transboundary animal diseases (TADs) were therefore all crucial.

In his opening remarks, Dr Subhash Morzaria of the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand, noted that Pacific Islands were fortunate not to have major infectious disease problems in their livestock.

‘In this globalised world, disease incursions can occur quite unexpectedly with unpredictable results’, he said.

The primary objective for the Pacific region is to maintain a disease-free status so that the livestock industry can flourish, bringing with it improved food security and better livelihoods for smallholder farming communities.

‘It is imperative to strengthen regional approaches and define clear guidelines for prevention and control of diseases through rapid detection and response before any new disease incursion becomes a problem,’ said Dr Morzaria.

In his opening remarks, Dr Ken Cokanasiga, SPC Animal Health and Production Adviser, stated that within the Pacific, countries are categorised as small island states and least developed states.

‘The resources available to these communities are often stretched to meet even daily needs. They are therefore especially vulnerable to infections diseases and natural disasters. The Pacific region encompasses one-third of the world’s surface area and this vastness and extensive borders offer huge challenges to efforts to monitor incursions of transboundary animal diseases.  It is essential that national and regional preparedness efforts are strengthened to enable us to respond effectively to the threat of transboundary animal diseases.’

SPC is now the recognised Regional Specialised Organisation for the GF-TADs initiative and SPC’s Animal Health and Production section has been selected as its Regional Support Unit.

The two-day consultation meeting will recommend programmes and activities for the SPC region and these recommendations will form the basis for mobilising resources from a range of donors.