Animal Health and Production

Livestock plays an important role in the social, cultural and economic environment of Pacific Island communities. Indeed many, of the important social and cultural events in island life cannot be properly carried out without the slaughter and presentation of livestock in sufficient numbers. The Animal Health and Production thematic team works together in the Pacific region to develop prosperous, efficient and sustainable animal health and production systems, producing healthy animals and safe products for food security and income generation.

Regional platform to address transboundary animal diseases
Monday, 04 March 2013 15:53

A regional conference on the Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GFTADs) is taking place in Nadi, Fiji on 4–8 March 2013. Livestock plays an important role in human nutrition and food security, livelihoods, agricultural and rural development, income generation and transportation for our communities. Hence animal diseases pose a threat to human economic development and food security, as well as to human health. 

During his opening speech, Inoke Ratukalou, Director of the Land Resources Division (LRD) of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), said, ‘the threat due to emerging and re-emerging animal diseases – especially transboundary animal diseases, including zoonoses, diseases which are transmissible from animals to humans – is of great concern.’

He added, ‘the GFTADs initiative is an area where we have been working very closely with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Organisation for Animal Health to assist us to develop a suitable approach for, and develop focused collaborative programmes to address serious damage by significant animal diseases, including zoonoses.’

SPC is a member of the GFTADs Regional Steering Committee for Asia and the Pacific. The Animal Health and Production Section of the SPC LRD continues to strengthen the capacity of veterinary diagnostic laboratories, improving national and regional surveillance systems for transboundary animal diseases.

SPC has been working hard to assist member countries in this field through the para-veterinary training programme and by providing technical advice on animal health and production issues, developing and delivering climate change mitigation and adaptation advice and collaborative activities with development partners and member countries, developing early warning systems  and animal disease surveillance systems, implementing emergency preparedness programmes, and developing diagnostic capacities and systems, just to name a few.

Dr Ken Cokanasiga, Adviser on Animal Health and Production with SPC said, ‘the Pacific region is particular in the sense that we are free from most of these exotic transboundary animal diseases. Our GFTADs programme should therefore be developed in such a way that it focuses on preventing the entry of these diseases into the region, unlike other regions, where their focus is on the control and eradication of these TADs.’

Mr Ratukalou strongly urged participants to look at current GFTADS activities underway locally and identify gaps in capacities and systems, prioritise these, and formulate realistic immediate, medium term and long term programmes for addressing these serious concerns.

He also urged the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Organisation for Animal Health and development partners on the regional steering committee to seriously consider the Pacific region’s specific needs, along with the great benefits of supporting such a preventative approach for our communities. After all, as the saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’. Prevention is also certainly a lot cheaper to manage and support in the long run, particularly if we consider the control and eradication costs of managing an incursion, and the related rehabilitation costs.

The meeting is attended by decision-makers and senior animal health and livestock experts from international and regional organisations and SPC member countries. Countries representing the Pacific region are Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tonga, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and New Zealand.

The three-day meeting will wrap up this Wednesday, and will be followed by a two-day regional meeting on World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS) training workshop recommendations.

The workshop is funded by the OIE-World Organisation for Animal Health and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

For more information, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it l. Should you have any further queries related to LRD activities, please contact the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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