Activities on GF-TADs

3rd FAO/OIE Sub-Regional Meeting of GF-TADs for SAARC Member Countries (Thimphu, Bhutan, 8 May 2017)

The Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs) is a joint FAO/OIE initiative which specifically aims at the control and prevention of Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs) and Emerging Infectious Diseases, providing a regional coordinating framework for a range of infectious disease control activities occurring at global and regional levels. 

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is recognized as a Regional Specialized Organization (RSO) and is key to the implementation of GF-TADs and other regional activities. Working with OIE, FAO, national Veterinary Services and technical specialists, the RSOs strategize and prioritize activities for disease control, notification, surveillance, and risk mitigation. 

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) co-organised the first FAO/OIE Sub-regional Meeting on GF-TADs for SAARC sub-region in 2009 in Nepal and the 2nd in 2015 in Thailand. There are many programmes, projects and disease control strategies that have been developed and implemented since then. To continue to foster co-operation, collaboration and timely information sharing within the SAARC sub-region, harmonise with regional and global strategies and update on emerging animal disease situations, FAO and OIE continue to collaborate with SAARC. The 3rd SAARC sub-regional GF-TADS meeting was co-organised by FAO and OIE with the SAARC secretariat back to back with the 6th SAARC CVO Forum meeting from 8-10th May 2017 in Thimphu, Bhutan.

The GF-TADs meeting focused on SAARCā€™s priority diseases and related issues for their prevention and control. The priority diseases include FMD, PPR, HPAI and Rabies, with consensus among members that these are still current priorities. There are national and regional strategies which have been developed and ongoing work is being carried out to control these diseases. There has also been strengthening of regional networks for laboratory and epidemiology as well as discussions around animal movement and trade. The need for continued regional collaboration and information sharing with support and input from international partners such as FAO and OIE was expressed by the SAARC member countries present as well as the SAARC secretariat.

Local vaccine production and use for all the priority transboundary diseases was also discussed extensively. Vaccination is an important aspect of control programs and availability of good quality and appropriate vaccines can be a challenge particularly for FMD, Rabies and PPR. The possibility of a regional vaccine bank for these vaccines was discussed, including local production of FMD vaccine.

The national and regional action plans of SAARC members for Antimicrobial resistance and Antimicrobial use was presented and is another important SAARC cooperation agreed on by the SAARC Agricultural Ministers in line with the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance agreed upon in May 2015 by the World Health Assembly.

The significant contributions made by the SAARC FAO Regional Support Unit over the previous years was acknowledged and the question of its continuation after the end of the current funding support in July is being reviewed by the SAARC secretariat. A resolution to maintain a regional support unit for SAARC is being sought, though not as it is currently.      

The Director General of Bhutan Livestock Department from host country of Bhutan, Dr Tashi Samdup was appointed Chair of the SAARC CVO Forum, taking over from Nepal.

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