Mr. SHIN Sung Chul. Counselor, Embassy of. Republic of Korea, Thailand,
Representatives from ASEAN, OIE and seven countries from Southeast Asia plus China and Republic Korea
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of FAO, I wish to welcome you all to the inception workshop of the project, “FMD Control in Southeast Asia through application of the Progressive Control Pathway”.
This project comes at an opportune time when livestock diseases are occurring in countries thought to have better equipped national veterinary services in terms of human and capital resources. The recent FMD outbreaks reported in developed countries showcases that livestock diseases indeed have no boundaries and can have a devastating impact on animal productivity and production, on trade in live animals, meat and other animal products, and consequently, on the overall process of economic development.
Livestock are important in supporting the livelihoods of poor livestock keepers, traders and laborers throughout the developing world. This is because livestock have a variety of characteristics that make them important contributors to sustainable rural development. They provide marketable products that can be produced by small-scale, household production systems, and are generally of higher value and less vulnerable to critical harvest timing than many crops. As an agricultural product, livestock are particularly attractive as a means for rural households to participate in urban-based economic growth. Livestock are also productive assets, which contribute directly to farm output through animal traction and indirectly as a store of wealth for future investment. Finally, they can contribute to soil fertility and recycling of agricultural waste.
Many livestock holders can benefit directly from the increasing market demand for livestock products. Demand growth for high value livestock commodities is increasing by 6 to 8 percent annually. Furthermore, the poor can also benefit from the fact that livestock development creates demand for labor, supports economic linkages with the feed and processing industries, sustains trade balances, encourages food security through stronger supply and can lead to lower prices for food of animal origin. However, smallholders and even larger producers face major constraints in actively participating in livestock development opportunities due to the heavy burden imposed by disease, including foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). The adverse socio-economic impacts of FMD are significant in Southeast Asia, particularly in developing countries where the livestock sector shapes prospects for economic growth, poverty alleviation and food security. FMD can prevent the access of a country’s livestock and livestock products to higher value markets and this loss of trade opportunity can be significant. The impact of FMD falls disproportionately on the poor populations, in the form of production and marketing losses, reductions in household income and hindering the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The distribution of costs varies across households and communities.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Improved control and management of FMD will be achieved through the application of the Progressive Control Pathway (PCP) for FMD in each of the participating countries. PCP is the approach developed by an FAO team for classifying each country’s progress in FMD risk management. In this approach, which has now been supported and endorsed by OIE, there are criteria for describing the FMD risk management position of countries that are not free of FMD. It has led to a tool that can be applied to measure each country’s progress towards FMD control within the framework of regional roadmaps; it aims at assisting countries in launching FMD control programmes that adopt a structured and stage-wise process along the progressive pathway from measuring risk, to risk management and stages that will enable countries to apply for recognition of disease freedom.
This project which is funded by the government of the Republic of Korea aims to promote the application of PCP at the Southeast Asian subregional level, particularly in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam, and will provide more direct assistance to these participating countries in order to support their activities to move forward through the early stages of the pathway and set the foundation for continued progress to the later stages. The three countries were chosen because of their common borders, the extent of the problem of FMD in those countries and the need to have a manageable number of countries.
FAO recognizes that it is a continuing challenge to maintain the core capacity and capability of the animal health services to respond to FMD outbreaks and other diseases hence it believes that improving the governance of animal health systems is the most effective response to disease emergencies and preparedness. FAO therefore appreciates very much that this principle is shared by the government of Republic of Korea and I wish to take this opportunity to thank South Korea for their support and partnership to control FMD. Indeed this project will provide a very good avenue to strengthen the collaboration with the donor and the other partners working to control transboundary animal diseases.
In closing, I wish to reiterate FAO’s commitment to maximise the effectiveness and achievement of the project outputs and outcomes, and consequently to ensuring improved animal health and more efficient production in the region as a means to enhancing food security and improving the livelihoods of the Asian farmers. I wish you all a fruitful outcome from this meeting.