Ladies and gentlemen,
I wish to welcome you again, this time, to the Eighth GF-TADs Regional Steering Committee Meeting for Asia and the Pacific. I hope you had a most fruitful meeting yesterday during the EU-HPED Steering Committee Meeting.
Firstly, allow me to congratulate you all for holding the GF-TADs Regional Steering Committee Meeting annually as a solid regional mechanism to promote our collaboration on GF-TADs. I also wish to congratulate you all for the regional five year action plan which has been developed through a joint efforts. I understand that a review of the Terms of Reference of the Steering Committee will soon be finalized and adopted.
All this important work aligns very much to the transformational changes, which FAO adapted and will implement for the next four years. These changes are expected to enhance delivery and impact of programmes in support of the Organization’s overarching global aim of combating hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity. FAO’s five new Strategic Objectives represent the main areas of work in which it will focus its efforts during 2014-17. These are:
- Contribute to the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition
- Increase and improve provision of goods and services from agriculture, forestry and fisheries in a sustainable manner
- Reduce rural poverty
- Enable more inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems at local, national and international levels
- Increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises
The GF-TADs, a joint OIE/FAO initiative, has been able to translate these objectives on the ground. It brought our collective action to support the control and eradication of transboundary animal diseases and have yielded several important institutional and operational gains. FAO’s involvement and support allowed for timely response in times of threats and crises. The recently experienced animal disease crises brought about by emerging pathogens have provided a clearer understanding of the benefits of GF-TADs to the international community of applying the appropriate animal health policies and programmes in order to safeguard public health and ensure food safety, food security and livelihood. And most importantly, we could demonstrate joint efforts, concerted actions and effective results within a clear and common framework to the public.
As you are aware, the demand for food, especially high quality protein sources such as meat is increasing very rapidly as the world population is expected to increase to around 9.2 billion by 2050 from present level of 7.1 billion, and per capita calorie consumption and the demand for meat, eggs and milk products would be increased sharply as number of middle income class population would be tripled in Asia between 2009 and 2020. Indeed, according to recent FAO’s estimate, the world demand of meat is expected to be increased over 80 percent between 2007 and 2050, while the production would face various challenges due to scarcity of land and water, and negative impacts of climate changes which might also result in frequent occurrence of trans-boundary animal diseases. Hence, promotion of animal health and animal disease control would become an extremely important task in order to ensure food security for our future generations.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I believe that, through the GF-TADs mechanism and structure, the governance of animal health systems in both the public and private sector would be improved towards providing the most effective response to address livestock diseases. To fully achieve this however, the GF-TADs mechanism must include and/or encourage other partners to get involved and that, the GF-TADs objectives and plans must remain coherent and relevant with the work, needs and activities of partners.
In this connection, I wish to welcome WHO, ASEAN, SAARC, EU, USDA, JICA, USAID, IFAH and other partners present here today.
Indeed, bringing together people, countries, institutions and donors would result in a winning combination of technical excellence, resources, partnerships and collaboration.
Finally, I wish to reiterate FAO’s commitment to continue and further promote the collaboration with OIE and other partners and member countries to maximize the benefit of this collaborative mechanism and partnership for ensuring improved animal health status and more efficient production in the region as a means to enhancing food and nutrition security and improving the livelihoods of the farmers.
I wish you a successful conclusion of this meeting. Thank you.