Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

APHCA Review Report/Executive Summary

(Presented and prepared by Mohd Nordin, former Director-General of Department of Veterinary Service, Malaysia)

The objective of the review is to assess current weaknesses of APHCA and to make suggestions to strengthen the organization so that it would become more effective and relevant to future development of the animal production and health of member countries in the region.

The review was based on responses to a questionnaire which was distributed to all delegates of APHCA. Interviews were conducted with selected delegates. Reference was also made to the responses to the questionnaire conducted in 1998.

It should be noted that all members were positive about the benefits derived from membership of APHCA over the years, cooperation among member countries and the activities sponsored by APHCA.

Some weaknesses were identified, including the lack of funds and funding sources to undertake many activities. The most significant opinion to the weakness identified was the impression that APHCA does not appear to have a strong basis for maintaining continuity of purpose. There seem to be weaknesses in the planning process and a more focused approach is required for the implementation of APHCA activities using its limited resources. Therefore, a mechanism needs to be established to maintain continuity of purpose beyond the tenure of individual delegates.

The text of agreement and the rules of procedure which form the basis of APHCA’s establishment provide sufficient flexibility for some structural changes. The proposals for change include:

i. A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) should be established to review, programs, projects and activities proposed and prioritize them for consideration by the Executive Committee. The TAC also considers policy changes and long-term planning proposals and advises the Executive Committee on their adoption.

ii. A clear procedure should be established to capture proposals for programmes, projects and activities from member countries, based on their needs. These proposals should be discussed and considered by the TAC and they will be prioritized on the basis of relevance, urgency and resources.

iii. The planning process needs to be strengthened with longer term strategic plans (five year periods) and shorter term implementation plans (two year periods). The strategic plans would reflect policy adoptions and would provide longer term guidance to the Executive Council and maintain the continuity of the organization. Most programs and projects should be for periods exceeding one year

iv. National focal points must be established in all member countries and the officer or officers should identified as contact points for APHCA matters. National focal points are responsible for the implementation of APHCA’s programmes and activities in the country and to ensure dissemination of information derived from APHCA to other officers within the organization and within the respective member countries.

v. The Chairperson and members of the Executive Committee should hold office for a specific tenure of at least two years, on a rotating basis. This suggestion will require amendment to the rules of procedure. The members of the Executive Committee must represent the interest of different groups of member countries. The Executive Committee is responsible for policy directions and final selection of programs and projects as well as for APHCA’s financial matters. The Executive Committee submits these proposals for endorsements and approval to the APHCA Session for implementation for the next period.

vi. The Chairperson should be given responsibilities to promote APHCA and communicate with potential member countries and funding agencies, and to support APHCA programs in relevant member countries.

vii. APHCA must be given the flexibility to actively seek financial support from other donor agencies and create collaborative activities. APHCA should also venture into activities which may generate funds to strengthen the APHCA Trust Fund.

viii. The efforts in strengthening the electronic system of dissemination of APHCA are recognized. A number of member states are not in a position to effectively utilize the system. It is proposed that the APHCA secretariat produce a simple newsletter that contains abstracts of the articles in Asian-Livestock and other technical information. The newsletter should be widely distributed to technical and field officers, and provide a guide on their needs to access the electronic system.

Veterinary Association Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur
July, 2003

APHCA Review Report


1. The objective of the review is to identify specific weaknesses in the current status of APHCA and to propose changes that would make APHCA a more effective organization relevant to the needs of member countries in the region, in the development of animal production and animal health.

2. The review was conducted because many member delegates expressed the need for changes to create a new impetus for APHCA so that it becomes more effective. Since the inception of APHCA in 1975, many other organizations have also been established in the region. These organizations include: WTO Groups, Asian Codex Committee, ASEAN, OIE Regional Commission, APEC, OIE FMD Sub-Commission, with elements of animal production and health. The perception is that some duplications and overlaps in roles and functions may exist. Certainly, all these organizations demand attention, time and resources.

3. The review is based on responses from a comprehensive APHCA review questionnaire. All delegates were given the questionnaire and responded them to respond directly to the APHCA secretariat. Some interviews were also conducted with selected delegates, namely Lao PDR, Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia. These responses were collated together with responses of the questionnaire conducted in 1998.

The organization

4. APHCA - Animal Production and Health Commission for Asia and the Pacific was established under FAO in December 1975. The Commission was proposed by the Fifth FAO regional conference on animal production and approved by FAO at the 60th Session of FAO council under article XIV of the FAO constitution. APHCA is opened to country members of FAO and the UN, within the region defined by latitudes 50 degree north and 50 degree south and longitudes 60 degree east and 130 degree west.

6. The foundation members who signed the FAO Instrument of Acceptance of the Text of Agreement for the establishment of APHCA are: Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Since then, Singapore and Mauritius have withdrawn their memberships but Papua New Guinea, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Bhutan have become members. The operation and administration of APHCA is subject to the provisions in the rules of procedure.

7. The formation of APHCA has been based on the need to create collective self help and mutual assistance among member countries through Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC). Through TCDC, mutual exchange of experiences and expertise between farmers with common problems can help identify development approaches most appropriate for the region.


8. The purposes of APHCA as stated in article II of the agreement are:

- To promote livestock development in general and national and international research and action with respect to animal health and husbandry problems in the region

- To build up regional and national livestock programmes based on collective self-reliance and mutual assistance within the region

- To promote livestock production as an industry and as part of the farming system on the basis of self-reliance at the farm level

- To raise the level of nutrition and standard of living of small farmers and rural communities through the optimal exploitation of potential resources for livestock development

Organizational structure

9. The APHCA Session meets every year and forms the major forum of discussions for delegate members. All member countries are represented in the APHCA Session where the Executive Committee and the Secretary of APHCA report on the progress of implementation of programmes and activities of APHCA.

10. The Executive Committee is made up of elected member delegates, comprising the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and four Committee members. The Executive Committee is responsible for policy and the selection of programs and activities of APHCA. The Chairperson is responsible for conducting the Executive Committee meetings as well as the APHCA Sessions.

11. APHCA has a permanent Secretary who is also the FAO Animal Husbandry Officer of the FAO Regional Office in Bangkok, supported by a small complement of staff.

APHCA funds

12. The activities of APHCA are funded by two major sources

Membership fees

The members of APHCA are divided into three groups with different rates of fees paid into the FAO Trust Fund. The initial rates were US$1 250, US$3 750 and US$6 250. The Secretary and part of the APHCA staff are provided for by FAO.

National Currency Fund (NCF)

The NCF is an extra-budgetary allocation specifically intended for APHCA activities which are hosted by a member country. Member countries hosts activities for participants from other countries using the NCF to cover all local costs, including board, lodging and possibly a small living allowance. Participating countries are responsible for the international travel costs of their participants. The NCF forms a major component of the TCDC programmes.

Donor agencies

Initial core funding of 175 000 Australian dollars was provided by the Australian Aid Agency in 1982 to initiate some of the APHCA activities.

APHCA achievements in the last five years

13. In APHCA what it is, what it does, how it works Dr Pryor reported on the first 20 years of APHCA. It gives a comprehensive description of APHCA as development organization and the achievements for the period.

14. The field of activities of APHCA as declared in the 1997/1998 period projected the extensive coverage of all facets of animal production and animal health relevant to member countries and the region. This list is still not exhaustive and members may incorporate other areas.

15. Details on some projects and programmes undertaken in the last five years are listed below and include:

- Poultry diseases and other problems of small poultry farmers, to improve their socio-economic situation based on experience from Indonesia for chicken and Thailand for ducks. This project has developed into the Hope-A

- Control of haemorrhagic septicaemia in the region through improved surveillance and vaccination and strengthened research. A regional training programme was conducted in Sri Lanka in August 1998.

- Control and eradication of foot-and-mouth disease, with the intention of creating a disease free zone, in collaboration with the OIE FMD Sub-commission and jointly coordinated with OIE FMD Regional Coordinating Unit Bangkok.

- Coordination of Rinderpest eradication in South Asia under which a workshop on emerging diseases was held in Hanoi on 31 July - 2 August 1997, a workshop on Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme (GREP) in 1998, and an expert consultation was held in Sri Lanka in February 1999.

- Privatization of the veterinary services, jointly with GTZ Germany

- Buffalo development: The Asian Buffalo Network, jointly with IBIC and ABA, DLD Thailand and the Ministry of Agriculture India.

- Conservation of Animal Genetic Resources, through cooperation with the Regional Project GCP/RAS/144-JPN and coordinated with the respective national coordinators.

- Animal Disease Contingency Planning workshop in September 1999, and Animal Disease Risk Analysis, organized jointly with FAO/EMPRES/OIE in Kochi, India.

- Transborder animal disease surveillance, supported jointly with FAO.

- Workshop on water buffalo development jointly with JLTA/DLD in Surin Thailand in February 2001

- Workshop on Equitable, safe and Clean Livestock Farming in February 2001 in Bangkok, Thailand.

- Regional Workshop on WTO SPS Agreement in Chiangmai, Thailand in July 2001 organized jointly with FAO/OIE/DLD/JLTA/FU-Berlin.

- Workshop on Wide Area Integration of Specialized Crops and Livestock in September 2001 in Bangkok, Thailand.

- Workshop in Identifying Priority Areas for International Action for Development Technologies in April/May 2001 in Bangkok, Thailand and Hyderabad, India in May 2001.

- BSE Diagnosis Workshop in November 2001 in Bangkok, Thailand jointly organized with FAO/OIE/DLD.

- East Asia Livestock Waste Management Workshop in March 2002 in Bangkok, Thailand.

- Expert Consultation of Protein Sources for Animal Feed Industries in April/May 2002 in Bangkok, Thailand.

- Numerous training programmes and courses have been conducted by APHCA jointly with FAO and other agencies.

APHCA publications - last five years

16. The development of electronic dissemination of information provides new options on the format of publications. The APHCA Secretariat continues to strengthen its capability to gather, collate and disseminate information using the electronic system for members who have such capabilities. Naturally some of the publications only appear in electronic version and can be accessed through the APHCA website.

17. APHCA activities provide opportunities to capture technical information into publications for wider distribution. The publications reflect the range of activities which APHCA has been involved in and in which it has participated in response to the needs and demands of the members of the Commission and the region.

APHCA review

18. The review of APHCA shows that perhaps some changes are in order to make APHCA more effective. A questionnaire taken in 1998 gave some indication of the expectation of the delegates and members of the Commission. The APHCA Review Questionnaire was circulated to all delegates. Selected delegates were also interviewed by the consultant, so that some detailed discussions could be conducted relating to items on the Questionnaire. The responses from the two questionnaires were taken together in this review.

Areas under review:

(i) Functions:

Most delegates consider the roles and functions of APHCA to be still relevant. However, some delegates expect that APHCA should respond to current issues and the emphasis should be given to areas related to SPS and trade related requirements. APHCA, therefore, must be sensitive to the international and global scenario, and provide platform to respond to the needs of the region as well as members. Certain member countries may require some support and assistance to meet these demands.

(ii) Strengths of APHCA

The Permanent Secretariat with the support of FAO is considered a strong point of APHCA. There is, however, a need to strengthen the Secretariat to improve services to members. The TCDC programme is regarded as a special strength of APHCA with unique NCF of members, with the support of APHCA Trust Fund. Members have declared that they have benefited from APHCA activities, the cooperation and information exchange.

(iii) Weaknesses of APHCA

Limited funding was seen as APHCA’s weakness. The main source of funds has been the annual contributions of members, which limits APHCA’s capacity to support many activities. The current organizational structure and planning process bear major weaknesses which do not reflect a continuity in the organization. These include:

(a) Under Rule VI.1 of the Rule of Procedure, the election of the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson and the Executive Committee Members is at every APHCA Session.

(b) The Executive Committee is expected to consider projects, programmes and activities as well as provide policy considerations and submit them to the APHCA Session on a year-to-year basis. Delegates cannot be expected to study the technical details of all project proposals, thus they become dependent on the Secretariat.

(c) The planning process is carried out on a year-to-year basis. Changes in the delegates and thus the members of the Executive Committee do not reflect continuity of purpose of APHCA.

(d) The National Focal Points appear to be the same as the Permanent Delegates, who are mostly the heads of the National Authorities. Naturally, they are not able to provide special emphasis to APHCA activities, and need to further delegate to other officers.

(iv) Strengthening of APHCA:

The structure of the APHCA organization requires strengthening in the following manner:

(a) The Permanent Delegates should not act as National Focal Points. Specific officers should be appointed as National Focal Points to coordinate activities within the organization and serve to disseminate APHCA based information to other officers and staff. Where relevant, more than one officer may be appointed for a specific area of responsibility.

(b) The election of Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and the Executive Committee should be for at least two years. This requires an amendment in Rule VI.1 of the Rules of Procedure. This would provide some element of continuity in the administrative system of APHCA. The representation within the Executive Committee should reflect the interest of the various of country members.

(c) APHCA should develop long term strategies (five years is suggested), to maintain continuity of purpose and policy direction, and priority areas. The strategies may be established workshop, and inputs from experts, advisers as well as the Executive Committee.

(d) Based on the long term strategies, shorter term implementation plan should be established, with medium term periods since most activities may extend beyond one or two years. Shorter term activities can be incorporated based on annual plans. The plans and strategies will be the base of APHCA activities, providing continuity of purpose despite changes in permanent delegates.

(e) The establishment of a Technical Committee has been proposed to critically study, scrutinize and prioritize proposals of programmes and activities within the long term strategies and medium term plans, neither the permanent delegates in the Executive Committee nor the APHCA Session is able to devote sufficient time for this purpose.

(f) A proper procedure of project, programme or activity proposal submission from Member countries should be established for technical evaluation and assessment of its relevance, consideration based on capacity of implementation. The Technical Committee would be responsible for submission to the Executive Committee for approval.

(v) Future roles of APHCA

The role of APHCA must be sensitive to the needs of members based on changing priorities. Some delegates have demanded emphasis be placed on issues of trade, public health, zoonoses and food safety as new emerging areas of interest. APHCA needs to establish elements of flexibility to accommodate possible new fields of interest in the future within its mechanism and its long term strategies.

(vi) The post of Chairperson and the Executive Committee

The post of Chairperson should be rotated among the member states for a tenure of at least two years. Similarly, the Vice Chairperson and the Executive Committee should be elected for the same period. this should provide some element of continuity to the Administrative system. While the name of Permanent Delegates has been reserved for the heads of National Authorities, attendance in APHCA Sessions and Executive Committee meetings has been exclusively by alternates. While it would demonstrate higher commitment if heads of National Authorities attended the Executive Committee and APHCA Sessions, for the purpose of continuity, National Authorities should name a senior officer as permanent delegate. The Chairperson is expected to support members in undertaking APHCA activities and be given the responsibilities to promote APHCA to member and prospective member governments.

(vii) Member contributions to APHCA funds

Responses regarding this matter indicated that the current contributions rates are adequate. However, member contributions, being the major source of APHCA funds, may not be sufficient to create the activities expected by members.

(viii) APHCA to coordinate national policy development in animal industry

Most delegates agreed with APHCA’s role in coordinating development of policies of the animal industry in member states to ensure that development is in line with international and regional directions. Streamlining the policies would help to maintain relative growth and improvements in the livelihoods of the farmers in the region.

(ix) Dissemination of information

While most delegates consider the role of APHCA in dissemination of information as adequate, not all member states have equally efficient access to the electronic system at the delegates level. This applies even more so at the level of field officers where information may be most relevant. It has been proposed that APHCA produce a simple newsletter periodically with abstracts of the Asian Livestock publications and other concise news worthy information for extensive distribution at the level of field officers. This would provide a guide to highlight items of interest. The National Focal Points should also play a role in disseminating APHCA information.

(x) Benefit of TCDC programmes

All members agree that benefic were gained from the TCDC programmes, including cooperation between members and the sharing of information and experience. Only some Members have hosted TCDC since not all members have the capacity to provide TCDC based activities.

(xi) Establishment of NCF

While a number of members may be able to establish an NCF to support their APHCA related activities including hosting officers from member countries, there are members who do not have access to such funds. Some Member countries are fortunate enough to have projects supported by donor countries or international agencies which provide opportunities to host regional based activities.

(xii) Assistance in national development planning

Responses indicated support to APHCA’s role in the determination of priority areas, identification of possible donor agencies for specific programmes as well as selection of experts for relevant activity support. APHCA is expected to assist member states in procuring TCP programmes and similar projects to be funded by FAO and other international agencies.

(xiii) New members

Members are in agreement with strengthening APHCA by inviting other eligible countries in the region to join the Commission. The suggestions include Viet Nam, South Korea, Japan, China, East Timor and the Former States of Russia. It should be demonstrated to new members that APHCA is an active organization in which much can be gained through mutual cooperation.

Major issues and recommendation

19. The issues raised by members relate:

- to strengthening the organizational and administrative structure of the Commission

- the planning process to maintain continuity of purpose

- creation of more relevant activities, and

- improving the dissemination of information

The proposals to address the above issues include:

(i) Organizational and administrative structure

(a) Increase the tenure of Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Executive Committee Members for a period not less than two years. This decision would require amendment of Rule VI.1 in the Rules of Procedure.

(b) Appointment of National Focal Points from officers of the National Authorities different from the Permanent Delegate to ensure actions are taken appropriately and in a timely fashion.

(c) Establishment of a Technical Committee comprised of officers with relevant expertise to study, analyze and select appropriate programmes, projects and activities, based on the current needs of members and the capacity to implement them. The establishment of the Technical Committee is provided for under article XIII.1 of the agreement.

(d) The Chairperson and the Executive Committee are given the authority to seek financial support from donor and international agencies for specific priority programmes, projects and activities on behalf of members, or for the region. This is provided for under article of the Agreement.

(ii) Strengthening the planning process

(a) Establishment of long term strategies (five years) to maintain continuity, priority and direction for development of the animal industry in the region. Based on these strategies, the implementation plans are drawn up for the medium term (two years).

(b) Establishment of a mechanism for members to submit proposals for programmes, projects and activities based on their own needs. These proposals are to be studied, analyzed and selected, on the basis of priorities within the long term strategies, by the Technical Committee for consideration of the Executive Committee and the APHCA Session.

(iii) Ensuring relevant activities

(a) The establishment of a mechanism for members to submit proposals would allow members to identify relevant areas of interest most appropriate to their needs, within the terms of current strategies.

(b) Support needs to be provided to member countries for funding of projects by international agencies.

(c) APHCA is expected to assist member states in developing suitable development policies for the growth of the animal industry in line with regional and global situations.

(iv) The dissemination of information

(a) The efforts by APHCA to strengthen the electronic system of information distribution are recognized and many members have managed to utilize the system effectively. Some members, however, do not have an adequate infrastructure. A newsletter has been proposed to create a simple hardcopy information sheet with relevant news and abstracts of technical information for wide distribution and act as a guide for selective accessing of the electronic system.

(b) The National Focal Points must carry the responsibility of disseminating information within their own organizations. In the National Authorities, the National Focal Points must be given access to the electronic system so that relevant APHCA information can be obtained in a timely fashion.

Comparison of APHCA with similar organization

20. The opportunity was taken to look at the experiences of similar regional organizations, their structures, functions and funding resources. The network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) appears to hold some similarities to APHCA. NACA was established upon recommendation of the regional workshop on aquaculture planning in Asia in 1975, and endorsed by the FAO technical conference on aquaculture in 1976. NACA was operational in 1980 within the framework of TCDC with 11 participating countries. Under the Agreement adopted by the conference of plenipotentiaries convened by FAO in 1988, NACA became an intergovernmental organization in 1990, with autonomy with FAO as a member of the Governing Council.

21. The role of NACA is essentially to coordinate and interlink aquaculture and related institutions, working in close cooperation on development technology, manpower and information required to increase the contribution of aquaculture to national development goals and expand sustainable aquaculture development in the region.

The organizational structure of NACA, consists of:

The NACA structure

Technical Advisory Committee

Governing council

Member Governments
International Organizations
Donor Agencies

Panel of Expert Advisers

Coordinating unit

Core Professionals
Non-core Experts
Seconded Staff
Associated Professionals
Administrative Staff
Reserve Staff

National Coordination


Regional Lead Centre
National Aquatic Centre
Sea farming Centre
Associated National Institutions
(Universities, Research, etc)
Collaborating Centre

The list of agencies and organizations that NACA has collaborative activities with are:

- Office Internationale des Epizooties (OIE)

- Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR)

- Aquatic Animal Health Research Institute (AAHRI)

- Asian Development Bank (ADB)

- Asian Institute of Technology (AIT)

- Coastal Resources Institute (CORIN)

- Danish Cooperation for Environment and Development (DANCED)

- European Unión (EU)


- International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM)


- Mekong River Commission

- Overseas Development Administration (ODA)

- South East Asia Fisheries Development Council (SEAFDEC)

- Thailand Development Reasearch Institute (TDRI)

- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

- World Health Organization (WHO)

- World Aquaculture Society

(i) The governing council is the supreme policy making body composed of the representatives of member governments. FAO is represented in the Council.

(ii) The Technical Advisory Committee advises the Council on technical aspects, with the responsibility to assess priority needs of aquaculture development in the region, identify areas of Technical Cooperation among the countries and specialized institutions, formulate technical programmes of work and recommend strategies for their implementation.

A panel of experts was proposed to function as a think tank, to provide new ideas and directions in advisory capacity. This panel has not been established.

(iv) The Secretariat is headed by a Director General. The coordinating body of NACA consists of a core of professional staff from the region in appropriate fields, associate professionals assigned by collaborating agencies, seconded staff from governments and administrative support staff provided by the host government. Non-core staffs in specialized fields are hired on full time assignments. Reserve staff are experts who provide technical specialist assistance for projects on short notice. NACA publishes a technical magazine “Aquaculture” and a Newsletter on a quarterly basis.

22. The Scale of Annual Contributions of Member Nations to NACA is as follows:

Group A (GDP > US$100 000 million)


US$80 000


US$80 000

Group B (GDP from US$50 000 - US$100 000 million)


US$60 000

Group C (GDP from US$15000 - US$50 000 million)


US$40 000


US$40 000

Group D (GDP from US$5 000 - US$15 000 million)


US$30 000

Sri Lanka

US$30 000

Group E (GDP < US$5 000 million)


US$20 000


US$20 000

23. It is obvious that the contributions of member governments to NACA are higher. This scale of contributions has been fixed and has never been revised. As an autonomous body, they are at liberty to collaborate with any organization subject to the approval of the governing council. The approach taken by NACA is more towards industry development and broader issues being faced by member countries such as water pollution. They undertake training activities with industry, which may generate additional revenue for the organization.


There appear to be grounds for some changes in APHCA to improve its effectiveness for member states. Based on the responses and comments from various parties, some suggestions are provided in this study. Some delegates may have other ideas and proposals that could be brought to the attention of the Executive Committee and the APHCA council. The text of agreement and the rules of procedure provide the suggestion for some structural changes in APHCA. The scale of contributions from APHCA members appears to be smaller than that of other similar agencies. The need to collaborate with FAO and other international agencies is more critical for APHCA. The TCDC programmes must be enhanced to expand the cooperation, collective self-help and mutual assistance principles which form the primary basis of APHCA. The field of responsibilities already established under the scope of APHCA is sufficiently large to cover any specific activity related to animal production and animal health to meet the needs and interests of all member states.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page