Research activities on HPAI and other TADs in South East Asia
Bangkok, Thailand, 21-22 January 2008. FAO's Pro-Poor Livestock Policy Initiative (PPLPI), as part of its activities in the DFID funded project on ‘Pro-Poor Policy Options for the Control of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Africa and Southeast Asia’, co-hosted a Researcher Workshop on Avian Influenza (HPAI) and other Transboundary Animal Diseases (TDAs) in South East Asia. The Workshop was co-organised by FAO, the Royal Veterinary College and CIRAD. The purpose of the HPAI project is to aid decision makers in developing evidence-based HPAI control measures at national and international levels that take into account and mitigate against the potentially adverse impacts of these measures on the large number of smallholder poultry producers in affected countries.
More than 50 scientists of a number of disciplines from the region and abroad participated in the workshop and shared their research on various aspects of HPAI and other TADs. The immediate aim was to review what is known about the most important transboundary animal diseases present in the region. Thirty seven papers were presented the majority on HPAI research. Abstracts are available on the project website www.hpai-research.net. In working groups, participants attempted to identify knowledge gaps research needs to fill and key components of a communication and advocacy strategy. The precise research needs vary by country. In Thailand, for example, there may be limited need for primary research and considerable benefit can be derived from reviewing previous work and carrying out some additional analyses. With respect to research communication and collaboration, participants stressed the importance to build a database of ongoing HPAI research activities, to look for and document examples where research has led to effective and equitable policy outcomes, to include a policy-framing component in all the research commissioned by the project and, finally, to establish constructive linkages between researchers and policy makers. PPLPI and FAO’s Livestock Information and Policy Branch (AGAL), which are co-responsible for research co-ordination of the HPAI project in the Mekong region, will provide logistic, policy and technical support to the research project.