23-27 October 2004,
ASIA-EUROPE MEETING (ASEM)
The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), officially established in 1996, is an interregional forum consisting of 7 members of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations such as Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam), China, Japan and Republic of Korea; and 15 members of the European Union (i.e., Italy, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Denmark, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Finalnd, Sweden, the United Kingdom plus the European Commission). The main components of the ASEM process include political dialogue, security and economy, and education and culture.
ASEM AQUACULTURE PLATFORM
The ASEM Aquaculture Platform has the objective of forming a platform for activities related to sustainable aquaculture between ASEM member countries through the following activities: (1) build and manage a platform; (2) thematic workshops; (3) dissemination within and beyond the platform; and (4) facilitate partnerships and source funding for new projects. Activities revolve around 3 societal concerns: (1) fair trade, food security and safety; (2) environmental sustainabilty; and (3) social equitability. The thematic workshops have very specific objectives: (1) to formulate very specific recommendations on future directions in research, trade and production between the two regions: Asia and Europe; and (2) to forge new alliances or reinforce existing ones between EU and Asia partners for joint research, trade policies and production methods. The workshops are therefore seen as an important venue to bring together a selection of key players from both regions and from the different sectors involved to think together and reach consensus on tangible action points. Aquaculture animal health is one of 6 identified workshop topics. The other 5 themes are: (1) food seurity; (2) food safety, trade and regulatory aspects (legislation); (3) Education and training; (4) Environment and ecosystem presentation (biodiversity); and (5) Domestication and breeding.
ASEM WORKSHOP ON DISEASE AND HEALTH MANAGEMENT
Twenty-two presentations were made from 29 participants from 17 countries (Belgium, China, Columbia, Ecuador, France, Japan, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Vietnam) representing governments, universities, research institutes, regional and international organizations, and private sectors. Workshop participants, divided into 4 groups, tackled the following subjects: (1) Molecular epidemiology and disease mechanisms; (2) Diagnostics, intercalibration and certification of laboratories; (3) Epidemiology, health management and extension; and (4) Vaccines and new treatments. The workshop was convened by T.W. Flegel (Mahidol University, Thailand) and Victoria Alday (INVE).
The specific research suggestions resulting from the working group sessions reflect many of the recommendations from various activities/projects initiated and organised and/or co-organised by FAO particularly under the following TCP projects: (a) TCP/RAS 6714 (A) and 9065 (A) "Assistance for the Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals"; (b) TCP/RLA/0071 "Assistance to health management of shrimp culture in Latin America; (c) TCP/INS/2905 (A) - Health Management in Freshwater Aquaculture; as well as expert consultations organised by FAO such as (a) Expert Consultation on Research Needs for Standardization and Validation of the Detection of Aquatic Animal Pathogens and Diseases (1999, Bangkok, Thailand, refer to publication FTP 395); (b) Asia Regional Scoping Workshop on Primary Aquatic Animal Health Care in Rural, Small-Scale, Aquaculture Development (1999, Dhaka, Bangladesh, refer to publication FTP 406); (c) Expert Consultation on Surveillance and Zoning for Aquatic Animal Diseases (2002, Rome, Italy, refer to publication FTP 451); and (d) the most recently concluded Regional Workshop on Preparedness and Response to Aquatic Animal Health Emergencies (2004, Jakarta, Indonesia). These are clear indication of the efficient uptake of FAO initiatives.
FAOs presentation emphasized on the need for research on three interrelated subjects- epidemiology, risk analysis and biosecurity-all all aimed at making good use of scientific research for disease prevention, control and management. These are the same subject areas that were emphasized in a document, Thematic Domain for 7th Framework Programme of Research (2007-2011): Biosecurity Risk Assessments for Responsible Aquatic Animal Health Management under Action 5 - Support Sustainable Development for the Aquaculture Industry, submitted to EUs Fisheries Directorate-General in November 2004 and who considered these topics of major importance.
FAO, recognised as an important partner organization in addressing issues related to aquatic health management, will continue its important role in this regard as there will be more demand for improved aquatic animal biosecurity driven by multiple objectives towards resource protection (aquaculture, wild fisheries and the general environment), food security, trade, globalization, consumer preference for high quality and safe products, production profitability, investment and development issues, and new threats of emerging health problems (e.g. new diseases/pathogens, new hosts for well-known pathogens).
Twenty four of 29 participants from 17 countries (Belgium, China, Columbia, Ecuador, France, Japan, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Viet Nam) representing governments, universities, research institutes, regional and international organizations, and private sectors pose for a group photo during the ASEM Workshop on Disease and Health Management held in Barcelona, Spain from 23-27 October 2004.
Melba B. Reantaso, FAO
 Melba B.