06/21/15 16:10

Recent Activities

13th Upper Mekong Working Group (UMWG) Meeting

The Upper Mekong Working Group (UMWG), consists of Yunnan Province of the People’s Republic of China and the northern parts of Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, convened for the 13th meeting on February 9 - 10, 2017 at Mandalay, Myanmar and discussed update on the status of foot and mouth disease (FMD) and control activities within the Upper Mekong zone as well as techniques to improve FMD outbreak response and epidemiological understanding in the region.


In his opening remarks, Dr Ronello Abila, OIE Sub-Regional Representative for South-East Asia, underlined the socio-economic importance of FMD control and animal movement management in the Upper Mekong region even as he thanked the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department (LBVD) of Myanmar for hosting the meeting. Capacity of veterinary service to address the current challenges and progress against the objectives of the UMWG was also emphasized. Dr Ye Tun Win, director general of Myanmar’s LBVD, acknowledged OIE’s key role in coordinating FMD control in this region and expressed his hope for enhanced multinational cooperation in the future. 


Key achievements of the UMWG during the past two years were reported which included the completion of the Upper Mekong animal movement study, successful implementation of FMD vaccination projects in pilot areas in northern Lao PDR and central Myanmar, signing a Joint Statement on harmonizing procedures for livestock movement management, identification of possible areas for the establishment of “control zones” in Myanmar-China and Lao PDR–China border areas, and the conduct of risk assessment study on the possible incursion of FMDV into the proposed “border control zones”.


Discussions and presentations mainly centered on strengthening FMD control in this region with emphasis on harmonising quarantine and animal movement management procedures, systematic surveillance, veterinary service capacity, communication and public awareness, and resources. Continued bi-/tri-national collaboration, especially technical and financial support from China, and coordination by OIE SEACFMD were considered as pivotal to progress the zoning project.


Detailed information on the initiative to improve border control zone along China-Myanmar and China-Lao PDR borders were also presented to the participants. China’s Ministry of Agriculture funded an OIE-organised risk assessment study in this area, launched last September 2016, to identify the risk of FMD virus incursion and to determine risk mitigation measures.


The meeting concluded with the agreement to reconsider the scope and boundaries of the Upper Mekong Zone in relation to the proposed animal movement control zones along Myanmar-China and Lao PDR-China borders and continue the ongoing risk assessment study for the border zoning project.