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PREFACE


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) are pleased to present this document entitled Asia Regional Technical Guidelines on Health Management for the Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals and the Beijing Consensus and Implementation Strategy. The Asia Regional Technical Guidelines on Health Management for the Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals (hereafter referred to as the "Technical Guidelines") and their associated implementation plan, the Beijing Consensus and Implementation Strategy (BCIS), were developed by representatives from 21 Asian governments[1], scientists and experts on aquatic animal health[2],[3], as well as by representatives from several national, regional and international agencies and organisations[4].

The Technical Guidelines provide valuable guidance for national and regional efforts in reducing the risks of disease due to trans-boundary movement of live aquatic animals. Their implementation will contribute to securing and increasing income of aquaculturists in Asia by minimising the disease risks associated with trans-boundary movement of aquatic animal pathogens. In many countries in Asia, aquaculture and capture fisheries provide a mainstay of rural food security and livelihoods, and implementation of the Technical Guidelines will contribute to regional efforts to improve rural livelihoods, within the broader framework of responsible management, environmental sustainability and protection of aquatic biodiversity.

The Technical Guidelines are based on a history of regional collaboration and discussion. They were initiated due to increased recognition of disease emergence being linked to live aquatic animal movements. The associated economic losses, impacts on rural livelihoods and national efforts in poverty alleviation and food security were recognised as being highly significant. New trade agreements and requirements generated by the World Trade Organization (WTO) further reinforced the necessity for improved live aquatic animal health management. The initial programme, upon which the Technical Guidelines were subsequently based, was the FAO/NACA Asia Regional Aquatic Animal Health Management Programme, officially launched in 1996 with the convening of the Regional Workshop on Health and Quarantine Guidelines for the Responsible Movement (Introduction and Transfer) of Aquatic Organisms, held in January 1996, in Bangkok, Thailand.

The governments participating in this regional programme clearly recognised the need for a region-wide approach to aquatic animal health management. They, therefore, requested FAO, through NACA, to assist production of a set of technical guidelines that could be used to improve and harmonise aquatic animal health management strategies for responsible trans-boundary movement of live aquatic animals.

An FAO Technical Co-operation Programme (TCP) Project (TCP/RAS 6714 (A) and 9065 (A) - “Assistance for the Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals”) was launched by NACA in 1998, with the participation of 21 countries from throughout the region. This programme complemented FAO's efforts in assisting member countries to implement the relevant provisions in Article 9 - Aquaculture Development - of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF), at both the national and regional levels. A set of Guiding Principles, formulated by a group of aquatic animal health experts at the Regional Workshop held in 1996 in Bangkok, formed the basis for an extensive consultative process, between 1998-2000, involving input from government-designated National Co-ordinators (NCs), NACA, FAO, OIE, and regional and international specialists. Based on reports from these workshops, as well as intersessional activities co-ordinated by FAO and NACA, the final Technical Guidelines were presented and discussed at the Final Workshop on Asia Regional Health Management for the Responsible Trans-boundary Movement of Live Aquatic Animals, held in Beijing, China, 27th-30th June 2000.

The Technical Guidelines were reviewed and discussed by the participants of this meeting, which included the NCs, FAO, NACA, OIE (Representatives of the Fish Disease Commission and Regional Representation in Tokyo), and many regional and international aquatic animal health management specialists. The NCs gave unanimous agreement and endorsement of the Technical Guidelines, in principle, as providing valuable guidance for national and regional efforts in reducing the risks of disease due to the trans-boundary movement of live aquatic animals.

The States have primary responsibilities for implementation of the Technical Guidelines, and the workshop recommended that the Technical Guidelines be integrated within national development plans, and implemented in a phased manner building on current resources.

Recognising the crucial importance of implementation of the Technical Guidelines, the participants prepared a detailed implementation strategy, the Beijing Consensus and Implementation Strategy (BCIS), focussing on National Strategies[5] and with support through regional and international co-operation. This comprehensive implementation strategy was unanimously adopted by the workshop participants.

The Technical Guidelines are also supported by the Manual of Procedures for the Implementation of the Asia Regional Technical Guidelines on Health Management for the Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals (hereafter referred to as the Manual of Procedures), which will be published in late 2000. The Manual of Procedures provides background material and detailed technical procedures to assist countries and territories in the Asia Region in implementing the Technical Guidelines. In addition, an Asia Diagnostic Guide to Aquatic Animal Diseases was prepared to support regional countries in diagnosis of aquatic animal disease. This document will also be published in late 2000.

The countries that participated in the development of the Technical Guidelines and BCIS are Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China P.R., Hong Kong China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea (D.P.R.), Korea (R.O.), Lao (P.D.R.), Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

FAO and NACA extend special thanks to all the governments, agencies, and organisations that took part in this significant, and sometimes daunting, endeavour, as well as to all the individuals who generously contributed time, effort and expertise to the compilation of this document and other information produced during the process.

Ichiro Nomura
Assistant Director General
Fisheries Department
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy
Fax: + 39 06 570-53020
E-mail: ichiro.nomura@fao.org or fi-enquires@fao.org
Website: http://www.fao.org/fi/default.asp

Hassanai Kongkeo
Co-ordinator
Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA)
Department of Fisheries,
Kasetsart University Campus, Ladyao, Jatujak
Bangkok 10900, Thailand
Fax: (662) 561-1727
E-mail: hassanak@fisheries.go.th or naca@mozart.inet.co.th
Website: http://naca.fisheries.go.th


[1] For the purpose of these Technical Guidelines, the term “country” covers an entity which may be a nation, a region of a country or a government.
[2] See Annex I for the list of National Co-ordinators who represented the participating countries during drafting of these Technical Guidelines.
[3] See Annex II for the list of Regional Working Group (RWG) and Technical Support Services (TSS) members who assisted with the Technical Guidelines.
[4] See Annex III for the list of agencies and organisations that participated in the development of the Technical Guidelines.
[5] The National Strategies of the participating countries for implementation of the Technical Guidelines will be published separately by FAO/NACA.

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