FAO/OIE Sub-Regional Meeting of GF-TADs for SPC, Nadi, Fiji, 4-6 March 2013

The second FAO/OIE Sub-Regional Meeting of GF-TADs for SPC was held in Nadi, Fiji from 4 to 6 March 2013. It was attended by twenty decision-makers and animal health/livestock experts from eleven SPC member countries (Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tonga, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands); New Zealand, as a development partner in the sub-region; FAO Regional Office for Asia and Pacific; and OIE Regional Representation for Asia and the Pacific.

At the first meeting held in 2009, members agreed that a regional supporting unit (RSU) should be established within SPC and, noting the absence of major transboundary animal diseases in the sub-region that the primary focus would be on preparedness for possible animal disease incursion, especially by HPAI. Objectives of the second meeting were: 1) updating information on GF-TADs work in the sub-region; 2) revisiting the recommendations and resolutions of the first meeting to consider which issues are still relevant, to re-prioritise the issues, and to identify possible incursions; and 3) developing a clear framework for the RSU and a way-forward strategy.

Dr. Inoke Ratukalou, Director of the Land Resources Division  of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, stated in his opening speech that the threat due to emerging and re-emerging animal diseases -especially transboundary animal diseases, including zoonoses - was of great concern to the members. He expressed appreciation of the GF-TADs initiative as a platform where SPC has been working closely with FAO and OIE to develop approaches suitable for its members and also collaborative programmes to address serious damage by significant animal diseases including zoonoses.

Throughout the three-day meeting participants actively exchanged opinions and discussed proposed objectives and other issues. A concise list of recommendations was produced, together with a sub-regional Action Plan. The Action Plan will serve as a basis for future discussions with FAO, the OIE and Donors regarding technical and financial support. Both documents will be presented by an SPC representative at the 7th Regional GF-TADs Steering Committee Meeting in Tokyo, July 2013.

The participants expressed their desire to hold the third meeting in 2015, where progress on such Action Plan will be reviewed.