(Dhaka, Bangladesh, 6-9 November 2000)
The 59th APHCA Executive Committee Meeting was held as an early morning session on 6 November 2000 while the 24th APHCA Session was organized during 6-9 November 2000, in Dhaka Bangladesh (detailed timetable appears in the working paper - APHCA: 00/1).
Representatives from thirteen APHCA member countries (Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, and Thailand) attended the Session. There were observers from Vietnam, ILRI, JICA, OIE, and USDA (a list of participants and observers appears in the working paper - APHCA: 00/10).
The Secretary noted that he has received an email from the Delegate from the Philippines. The Delegate apologises for missing the Session due to a typhoon at home that has prevented travel.
At the combined opening ceremony of the 59th Executive Committee Meeting and the 24th Session of APHCA, the FAO-APHCA/WHO/OIE Regional Workshop on Veterinary Public Health and Zoonoses (6-7 November 2000), and the OIE/FAO-APHCA Regional Workshop on WTOs Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) Agreement (8-9 November 2000), a welcome address was given by Md. Abdur Razaqque Mia, Director General of the Department of Livestock Services, Bangladesh, on behalf of the Organizing Committee. This was followed by a welcome address by the Chief Guest, H.E. Mr. A.S.M. Abdur Rob M.P., Minister for Fisheries and Livestock. Dr. Jorgen Hansen, Senior Animal Health Officer, FAO Headquarters gave an address on behalf of FAO and WHO while Dr. Y. Oketani and Dr. Teruhide Fujita delivered their speeches on behalf of the OIE Headquarters and the OIE Representation for Asia and the Pacific, respectively. Dr. V.K. Taneja, Animal Husbandry Commissioner, Government of India briefly welcomed all participants on behalf of APHCAs chairman followed by addresses by the special guests Professor Md. Abdul Quddus M.P., State Minister, and Mr. Syed Marghub Murshed, Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock (The full opening addresses appear as APHCA: 00/11). Vote of thanks was given by the Director (Extension), Department of Livestock Services, Bangladesh.
II. Organizational and Procedural Matters
Dr V. K. Taneja started the session and welcomed Dr. Phuntsho Wangdi, the Delegate from Bhutan, a new member country, to APHCA. He welcomed all members and observers and then called for the adoption of the previous agenda and nominations for Chairman, Vice Chairman and Members of the Executive Committee.
Adoption of the Agenda (APHCA: 00/1)
The Agenda of the 59th Executive Committee Meeting and the 24th Session of APHCA was tabled and adopted later in the meeting when members had time to consider the minutes (details appear in APHCA: 00/1).
Election of New Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Members of the Executive Committee
The following APHCA Executive Officials were elected:
Dr. V.K. Taneja, Delegate from India
Delegate from the Philippines
· Members of the Executive
Delegates from Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, and
The APHCA Secretary briefed the Participants on the above (full Minutes appear in APHCA: 00/3). The members accepted the minutes of the previous meeting without comments.
Presentation of the Financial Statements of APHCA (APHCA: 00/4)
The Chairman called on the Secretary to present the financial statement. Before doing so, the Chairman briefed the participants on the background of why the Government of India had requested the assistance of APHCA in purchasing Rinderpest ELISA kits, and urged members who might be considering similar purchases to also use the facilities of APHCA. He mentioned that this purchase through FAO/APHCA offers not only substantial discounts, but also brought in the experience of FAO in such purchases to ensure the delivery of quality kits, with the required insurance coverage, etc. A deposit from the Government of India would cover the full cost of the kits before the kits would be purchased, thus it did not involve APHCA in any costs or risk.
The APHCA Secretary briefed the participants on the above (full financial statements appear in APHCA: 00/4.) The Secretary explained the new format of the financial statements and the reason for these changes. The main reason was the change in the accounting system within FAO. FAO has now adopted the Oracle accounting system (replacing the previous Finsys System). One of the main changes is that a special code exists for travel and all travel was now recorded on this code. The Secretary drew attention to a number of points:
1. The conservative nature of APHCAs expenditure in 1999 where only US$36,073 were spent against an approved budget of US$75,900 with a surplus at the start of 1999 of US$109,125.The Secretary gave a long explanation supporting the Chairmans view that India would benefit substantially from the price discount available with APHCA acting as the ELISA kit purchasing agent. The APHCA 24th Session endorsed this action. Other countries wishing to purchase ELISA kits were invited to use the same procedure.
2. The large number of outstanding contributions and how this needed to be addressed in the future. Some of these outstanding amounts might actually be paid but not yet recorded. Mr. Md. Abdur Razzaque Mia, the Delegate from Bangladesh informed that only last week his government had made a payment to the trust account of US$19,647, which was the outstanding amount as of 31/12/1999. The Secretary thanked him for this information and expressed his delight to see that Bangladesh is making a tremendous effort to reduce its arrears. The Secretary explained that FAO/APHCA could also improve the system and inform governments of their obligation of contribution early in the financial year to give the governments time to respond within the financial year, rather than informing them towards the middle of the financial year. The Secretary would approach the Finance Department in Rome who is authorized to send reminder letters and see if this is possible.
3. The scale of contributions was explained to the members.
4. The Secretary pointed out that the scale of contributions had been frozen since 1997 because members felt the effects of the Asian financial crisis in 1997 was an extra burden on many countries. Since then, Asia has been recovering from the crisis and the members agreed in principle to the reintroduction of inflationary increases as in the past. Dr. Rafaqat Hussain Raja, the Delegate from Pakistan, suggested that the scale of contribution should stay at the same level until the 2002-2003 biennium budget. Over the next year, it was resolved that members would approach their Governments to inform them of the increase as agreed, and report back at the 25th Session where a decision could be made then on whether to reintroduce the inflation factor into the scale of contributions.
5. The approved year 2000 budget was presented and again a conservative expenditure was predicted.
6. The 2001 and the Biennium budget for 2002 and 2003 were presented in the Oracle format. Again a conservative budget was presented where total possible expenditure was kept at the level of only the projected receipts of the full contribution for that particular year.
7. The financial graph at the end of the budgets was explained which showed that the APHCA account was starting to show a reserve. This was a healthy sign.
The Members were asked to consider the budget as presented and to make comments, if any. They endorsed the proposed and revised budget for 2001, the budgets for the biennium 2002-2003 and the use of the trust fund account to purchase the expensive ELISA kits against Rinderpest for India.
APHCA Activities in 2000 (APHCA: 00/5)
The Secretary gave a detailed briefing on the activities/work performed since the last meeting in September 1999 through to October 2000, and the work to be continued and planned from November 2000 and on into the year 2001. During this briefing he called on Dr. Fujita to explain to members the proposed Buffalo workshop. Also, Dr. Ted Tesaprateep, Dean of Veterinary Science Chiang Mai University, Thailand explained the initiative of his faculty to provide a training course on subjects of interest to APHCA, and for APHCA to consider supporting member countries to send students to these courses.
The Secretary enumerated many activities that had been achieved with the collaborative efforts of a number of partners. The secretary explained how this was a cost-effective way to build on the limited resources of APHCA.
The Secretary also urged the members to read the three strategic objectives proposed by APHCA as ongoing long term objectives of APHCA, namely HOPE-A, FMD-Control Unit for South Asia, and ANGRASIA. This was discussed and later endorsed by the members.
The Secretary explained the development of the Information center of APHCA and urged members to read the paper Information Communication Technology (APHCA 00/7) that was presented to the APAARI meeting being held in Thailand during the same week. The author, Michael Riggs, arrived on Tuesday and presented a summary of the paper and his presentation. The Delegates from Bangladesh, Laos and Pakistan were thanked for having already returned the Computer Survey, and the rest of the delegates were encouraged to also do so before the end of the week. This survey information will be valuable to insure that the APHCA Information center develops new technology that is most useful to its members.
The Secretary explained that Dr. Vishnu Songkitti, who had done so much in organizing this meeting with the capable assistance of Department of Livestock Services and the Department of Extension, Government of Bangladesh, had to leave on Tuesday, 7 November, for northern Thailand to assist in the international conference of countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region, organized by the Royal Project Foundation of H.M. the King of Thailand.
Programme of Work and Budget for 2001-2002
It was agreed that the three long-term activities, HOPE-A, FMD-Control Unit for South Asia, and ANGRASIA should be pursued. Projects should be developed for these long-term programmes. However, the Secretary emphasized that it will be up to the individual governments, not APHCA, to submit these programmes for financial support.
The Chairman informed the participants that India would be organizing a workshop on the strategy for control of FMD in India during the first quarter of 2001, and offered that the South Asian members could participate in the workshop. After deliberation, it was decided that:
- The FMD-Control Unit for the South Asian Region may be set up,Miscellaneous Paper Presentations (detailed papers appear in APHCA: 00/7)
- South Asian countries may send a participant each to the workshop on FMD in South Asia, and
- APHCA should consider supporting the attendance of the members to this workshop.
A presentation was made by Michael Riggs on his recent paper Presentation on the ICT (Information Communication Technology) Status of APHCA made to the APAARI Expert Consultation on the Implementation of APRAIS. (See working paper APCHA: 00/7)
Venue and Dates of the Sixtieth Executive Committee Meeting and the Twenty-Fifth Session of APHCA
Requests/offers to host the next meeting were received from the delegates of Pakistan and Myanmar, Dr. Rafaqat Hussain Raja and Dr. Khin Maung Nyo, respectively. It was resolved that the Secretary should see if the Philippines was still interested as they had offered last year in India, and if not to contact the countries that offered and make a decision. Dr. Taneja pointed out that for the last four years, 1997 to 2000, the APHCA session had been held in South Asia and this should be considered when deciding where to hold the next meeting. The Secretary pointed out that August to October were the appropriate months. November was considered late, because of the necessity to stay within the FAO yearly budget planning period.
The new member Bhutan and all observers were given an opportunity to say a few words. Bhutan, USDA and JICA made statements.
Some suggested possible topics for future workshops were unmonitored movement of animals, improving livestock productivity, and present and future veterinary services for this region.
The Secretary briefed the meeting on the following issues: FAOs partnership programme, TCDC, YPO, APO and volunteers. These are all initiatives under the FAOs partnership programme. TCDC is the Technical Cooperation between Developing Countries programme, and YPO is the Young Professional Officers programme. Both programmes require that individuals be paid US$100 per day plus DSA, accommodation, and travel. This usually involves a minimum cost of about US$3,000 per month. Therefore, they are not cheap. For example, to employ one TCDC expert to come to Bangkok to assist the APHCA Secretariat for 12 months would consume the total annual budget of APHCA. Cheaper ways to support the APHCA Secretariat may be to employ APOs (Associate Professional Officers) and FAO volunteers. In both these cases, the salary cost of the individuals are paid by the sponsoring countries, and only office support and travel expenses have to be paid by APHCA. This is a much cheaper option. The Secretary informed the delegates that he had sent in five requests for APOs to be placed in the Livestock section, but he also warned that they are very difficult to get. However, he has high hopes that some assistance to the Secretariat may be obtained by this method.
The delegate from Iran, Dr. Mohsen Meshkat, indicated his support to have an FAO EMPRES workshop to be held in Iran, possibly in the middle of next year.
OIE accepted in principle to co-organize a Regional Workshop on WTOs SPS agreement once again at Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand. The OIE Regional Representative Dr. T. Fujita will propose this activity at the OIE Annual Session in Paris in May 2001, and the Workshop will likely be organized in July or August 2001. The four-day workshop will place an emphasis on risk analysis, HACCP, and food safety.
The Secretary made a Point of Notification. The University of Queensland, Department of Veterinary Pathology, is organizing a laboratory training course next year co-funded by IAEA and focused on the area of poultry vaccine production. APHCA may wish to send some members to this meeting.
The 24th Session of APHCA endorsed the concluding statements and recommendations of both workshops: the FAO-APHCA/WHO/OIE Regional Workshop on Veterinary Public Health and Zoonoses (6-7 November 2000), and the OIE/FAO-APHCA Regional Workshop on WTOs Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) Agreement (8-9 November 2000). The final Statements from these workshops will be included as APHCA 00/9.
Proposed Agenda for the Next Session
The Provisional Agenda for the sixtieth Executive Committee Meeting and the twenty-fifth Session of APHCA was circulated to all APHCA members (APHCA: 00/8). The Chairman informed all that amendments to the proposed agenda should be forwarded to the Secretary in FAO Regional Office in Bangkok.
III. Adoption of Report
The Commission adopted the 24th Session Report.
IV. Closing of the Session
The APHCA Chairman expressed his gratitude to all delegates and observers for their full co-operation and contribution to the 59th Executive Committee Meeting and the 24rd Session of APHCA, the FAO-APHCA/WHO/OIE Regional Workshop on Veterinary Public Health and Zoonoses (6-7 November 2000), and the OIE/FAO-APHCA Regional Workshop on WTOs Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) Agreement (8-9 November 2000). He sincerely thanked Dr. Md. Abdur Razzaque Mia, Director General of Livestock services and all his colleagues in the Organizing Committee for the excellent arrangements, hospitality, and hard work that contributed to the success of all the APHCA functions. He also thanked the APHCA Secretariat for their hard work before and during the Session.
The APHCA Secretary expressed his gratitude to all APHCA delegates, observers, his FAO colleagues, and especially the Organizing Committee, and the Government of Bangladesh for their full support and assistance towards the successful Session. The various sponsors for lunches and dinners were also thanked for their kind hospitality. The full list of participants, observers and sponsors can be found in the full report (APHCA: 00/10). The Secretary indicated that he would be in contact with everyone during the upcoming year to keep the initiatives discussed at this Session alive and to further the co-ordinated efforts of APHCA. E-mail and other IT systems being developed by APHCA would be the vehicle for the Secretary to communicate with the members, and he thanked the members for filling out the Computer Survey questionnaire. He wished everyone a safe trip home.