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Joining Forces in Asia to control Animal Diseases

Second Regional Steering Committee Meeting for Asia and the Pacific of the Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADS)

Paris, July 19th 2007 - The Second Regional Steering Committee Meeting for Asia and the Pacific of the Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADS), a joint FAO/OIE initiative, was held in Bangkok, Thailand on 18 and 19 July 2007 following the kind invitation of the Government of Thailand.

The meeting was opened by Professor Dr Thira Sutabutra, Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand and attended by various personalities including the OIE Director General, Dr Bernard Vallat and the Chief Veterinary Officer of the FAO, Dr Joseph Domenech.

In his opening address, the Honourable Minister emphasised the economic importance of controlling animal diseases particularly foot and mouth disease and highly pathogenic avian influenza and commended the roles played by the OIE and FAO in that respect stressing that “the great contribution of these two organisations to improve global animal health and production is gratefully acknowledged”.

Dr Vallat underlined the role played by the OIE in the international control of animal diseases pointing out that the combined strengths of the OIE, FAO and Sub-Regional Organisations such as ASEAN, SAARC and SPC under the GF-TADs, provided a unique mechanism to control transboundary animal diseases in the world including the Asian region. He warned that “although certain diseases are apparently on the decline, others are emerging and re-emerging in various parts of the world” . He stated that highly pathogenic avian influenza is reoccurring in countries where it was thought to have been eradicated and other diseases are making their appearance where they were least expected.

Dr Domenech explained the need to establish regional lead teams in diagnosis and epidemiology. He stressed that "these regional networks will push and pull national laboratories and epidemiological units and provide a basis for training and improvement of capacity building”. He also insisted on the need to continue the fight against avian influenza and further the investments in endemic countries such as Indonesia . He provided assurances that FAO will pursue its efforts to prevent and control avian influenza and other transboundary animal diseases in the region.

Dr Vallat informed that the negotiations between the OIE and the Government of Thailand for the establishment of an OIE Sub-Regional Representation in Bangkok had reached an advanced stage and that the Sub-Representation would soon be functional. He also announced the full participation of the People's Republic of China and Chinese Taipei in the activities of the OIE.

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