First meeting of the OIE/FAO Regional Steering Committee of GF-TADs for the Americas (Buenos Aires, 14-15 April 2005)

The first regional steering committee of the Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs) in the Americas was held in Buenos Aires (Argentina) from 14-15 April 2005.

The GF-TADs is a joint initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) which combines the strengths of both organisations in the fight against transboundary animal diseases (TADs) world wide. Its governance is composed of a global component at the OIE and FAO Headquarters level and of regional and sub-regional components. The ultimate aim of the Programme is to control and eradicate the most significant animal diseases including those transmissible to humans.

The OIE Regional Representation in Buenos Aires, Argentina will be the Permanent Secretariat of the Regional steering Committee for the Americas. Other Regional Permanent Secretariats are hosted by the OIE Regional Representations in Tokio, Bangkok, Bamako and Paris. By recognising country and regional specificities as regards animal diseases prevalence and control, a major objective of the GF-TADs is to try to adapt global policies and programmes to regions, sub-regions and countries.

At the meeting in Buenos Aires, it was highlighted that transboundary animal diseases and zoonoses in the Americas represent a serious hindrance for animal production and for the regional and international market access of animals and products of animal origin. This affects also public health and the livelihood of rural populations as well as national economy.

The meeting agreed to consider FMD, Avian Influenza, Classical Swine Fever, BSE and New World Screwworm as priorities in the fight against animal diseases in the Americas.

In order to guarantee the proper implementation of the actions proposed during the meeting, the steering committee decided to carry out a strategic vision document on the regional harmonized policies for the control of animal diseases and zoonoses in the Americas, aimed at strengthening Veterinary Services. This document will include a business plan and a provisional budget. It was also agreed to then convene a meeting of public and private donors for the execution of the business plan.

The meeting was attended by all relevant regional organisations, including OIRSA, IICA , PAHO and private livestock producers organizations. Dr Peter Fernandez, President of the OIE Regional Commission for the Americas was elected chairman of the GF-TADs regional steering committee. Drs Luis Alberto Espinoza (OIRSA) and Eduardo Correa Melo (PAHO) were appointed as vice presidents of the committee.

The GF-TADs mechanism was recognized as being a very useful coordination tool avoiding duplication and gaps between the numerous regional and subregional organisation programmes.