29 July 2011 - The Animal Production and Health Division (AGA) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) participated in the 5th Meeting of the Regional Steering Committee of the Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs) for the Americas held in Panama City, Panama, on the first of July of 2011.
The GF-TADs was signed on 24 May 2004 as a joint FAO and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) initiative which combines the strengths of both organizations to achieve mutually agreed common objectives. At its core, it is a facilitating mechanism which endeavours to empower regional alliances in the fight against transboundary animal diseases, to provide assistance for capacity building, and to assist in establishing programmes for the specific control of transboundary animal diseases based on expressed regional priorities.
To this effect, it is important to highlight that a group of eight  priority animal diseases are said to be of major concern worldwide: highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), rabies, screwworm, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), newcastle disease (ND), porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome (PRRS), and classic swine fever (CSF). The last four animal diseases are of special concern to the Andean countries in South America.
The meeting reported on the TADs situation in the Americas as well as on transversal topics that are of interest to the region, such as, for example, good governance of veterinary services and collaboration with other agencies. Special attention was devoted to the ongoing initiative for establishing a network of veterinary services’ reference national laboratories for CSF, FMD, salmonellosis, rabies, and brucellosis. Emphasis was also given to the progressive eradication of screwworm, with at least four interventions by participants.
To ensure high-quality diagnostics, it is envisioned that reference national laboratories shall undergo regular proficiency/ring tests every one or two years under the timely coordination of FAO and OIE reference laboratories.
FAO has always supported its member countries in the Americas with their numerous and interesting initiatives that are aimed at raising the levels of nutrition, improving agricultural productivity, bettering the lives of rural populations, and contributing to the growth of the world economy.
FAO of the UN is an institutional partner of World Veterinary Year (Vet2011) and has recently adopted a resolution declaring Global Freedom from Rinderpest.