Minutes of the 64thexecutive committee meeting and the 28th session of APHCA
The 64th executive committee meeting:
Sunday, 26 September, 16.00-17:30 hours
- The meeting was chaired by Dr R.H. Raja, delegate from Pakistan. Present were the delegates from India, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines and Thailand.
- As a follow-up to the proposal made at the 27th session to have, only every second year, a session officially hosted by an APHCA member country and one meeting in Thailand in the years in-between. The theme proposed by the 27th session for this 28th session was "small-scale dairying (SSD)". Due to the emergency of HPAI, it was decided to include a one-and-a-half day session to update member countries on the situation of HPAI and discuss future activities to prevent and control the disease.
- The proposed agenda for the 28th session of APHCA was approved.
- The Secretary reported that, due to the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) at the beginning of 2004 - which required inputs from all officers in RAP Livestock Section - the envisaged programmes could not be delivered. The resurgence of HPAI, with additional human fatalities in June indicates that the disease has become endemic in some countries and continues to require great attention. So far, 12 FAO Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) projects for the control and rehabilitation of HPAI have been approved by the FAO Director-General with a total value of about US$5.6 million. The implementation of these TCPs require substantial attention and efforts by the RAP officers (who also serve the APHCA Secretariat).
- The meeting briefly reviewed the financial statement and cleared it for submission to the session. The cash balance as of 1st January 2004 was US$ 291 031. The contribution by the members in 2004 is US$ 55 235.34 against US$ 84 104 due. US$ 6 502 were received, for which the contributor could not yet be identified. Necessary steps to identify the donor country have been initiated. The amount of outstanding contributions has decreased and only two countries have major arrears.
- A brief discussion reviewed the consequences of the GF-TADs agreement between FAO and the Office International des Epizooties (OIE). The committee concluded that there should be no problem as OIEs mandate is in the area of regulation and standards while FAOs strength is more downstream in the development and implementation of programmes.
- Subsequent to the discussion at the 27th session that, for continuity reasons, the Chairperson and the members for the ex-com should serve for two periods (two years), the members of the ex-com and the Chairperson agreed to stand for re-election.
- The ex-com confirmed that the APHCA priorities identified in 2003 continue to be valid.
APHCA business session:
Monday, 27 September - morning
1. At the opening, Dr R.H. Raja, Chairperson of APHCA, welcomed the participants. Dr J. Lubroth, Senior Animal Health Officer/EMPRES transmitted the greetings from FAO headquarters, Rome. The session was attended by delegates from APHCA countries (with the exception of Papua New Guinea), observers from OIE, Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), Southeast Asia Foot and Mouth Disease Campaign (SEA-FMD), Faculty of Veterinary Medicine/Chiang Mai University (FVM-CMU) and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).
2. The Agenda was adopted.
3. In following up to the proposal at the 27th session that the Chairperson and the members of the ex-com should serve for two periods (two years) with necessary re-election, the delegate from the Philippines proposed to re-elect the Chairperson and the ex-com members. This motion was seconded by the delegate from India.
The Executive Committee continues as the follows:
India, Nepal and Thailand
4. The minutes of the 62nd, the 63rd executive committee meetings and the 27th APHCA session were reviewed and approved by the delegates.
5. Statement of accounts: H. Wagner presented the status of the APHCA accounts for 2003 and the status of expenditures for 2004. The approved budget for 2003 was US$ 100 598, while the expenditures amounted to US$ 30 494. The financial situation of APHCA has improved as members pay their annual contributions and arrears. At present, only two countries have arrears of more than two years contributions. The cash balance without interest as of 1 January 2004 was US$ 291 031. The statement of accounts for the year 2003 was approved.
6. Report of activities: H. Wagner presented the activities conducted by the APHCA Secretariat and the RAP Livestock Section during 2003-04, irrespective of source of funding. Specific issues requiring more feedback by the delegates were addressed in details as the follows:
a. Global framework on the control of transboundary animal diseases (GF-TADs):
S. Morzaria presented the current status of two major activities related to GF-TADs in Asia. The first presentation focused on the sub-regional project on the control of TADs in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) countries involving Cambodia, Laos PDR, Peoples Republic of China, Thailand and Viet Nam. The sub-regional project was developed in consultation with the participating countries and has been submitted to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for funding. The ADB has reviewed the project favourably and is now awaiting final clearance from its President. If funded, the project will be carried out in two phases, each of 2 years. The first phase funding of US$ 2 million will comprise a grant of US$ 1 million from ADB, US$ 880 000 from the various TCPs committed to avian influenza support in the sub-region and US$ 120 000 contribution in kind from the participating countries. The project is designed to build technical capacity in various aspects of transboundary animal disease control in the GMS countries.
The second presentation was on the plans for South Asian countries for the control of transboundary diseases. Following three sub-regional consultations of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) member countries, an advanced draft proposal has been prepared to control FMD and Peste des Petits (PPR), the two priority diseases in the sub-region. The proposal identifies strengthening of institutions related to transboundary animal disease control in South Asia under the umbrella of SAARC to enhance regional co-operation. The key areas identified are establishment of a sub-regional support unit, sub-regional reference diagnostic laboratories and an epidemiology centre supported by a network of national disease information systems to improve transboundary animal disease control in the sub-region. The proposal will be submitted to the SAARC technical expert meeting scheduled for November 2004; and then it will be used as a basis to seek funding from various donors. The total funding required is over US$ 20 000 000.
b. Food and feed safety:
C. Benigno reported on the Regional Workshop on Food and Feed Safety held in collaboration with OIE, Japan Livestock Technology Association (JLTA) and Department of Livestock Development (DLD) of Thailand. The workshop which was held between 19 and 22 July 2004 in Bangkok, Thailand was attended by 38 participants from 15 countries with resource persons from OIE, Germany and Thailand. The workshop reviewed the current situation of food and feed safety in member countries and agreed to set a direction for food and feed safety programmes in the region, particularly in the area of capacity building.
c. WTOs sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) agreement and veterinary public health:
V. Songkitti reported on the above activities which included: i) the Fourth FAO-APHCA/OIE Regional Workshop on WTOs SPS Agreement organized in collaboration with JLTA, Free University of Berlin (FUB) and DLD at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Thailand (FVM-CMU), in July 2004; ii) Hands-on Training on BSE Diagnosis, BSE Risk Analysis Workshop and Consultation Meeting on BSE Public Awareness which were organized in Thailand in October 2003 in collaboration with JLTA, DLD and FUB; and iii) collaboration with the FVM-CMUs Regional Center for Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety. This center and the FUB are co-organizing Master of Science on Veterinary Public Health (M.Sc.-VPH) courses (with full scholarships) for graduated students in the Asia-Pacific region. APHCA countries have been encouraged to endorse their applicants for the courses and high priorities will be given to nominations by the APHCA delegates.
The meeting agreed to continue APHCAs activities on the WTOs SPS agreement and the hands-on training on BSE diagnosis. Requests were made that more scholarships for the M.Sc.-VPH courses be provided to the APHCA countries.
d. Livestock waste management:
H. Wagner presented progress in the preparation of the Global Environmental Facility - Project Development Fund-B (GEF - PDF-B) project which includes China, Thailand and Viet Nam. During this week (last week of September 2004), the World Bank (WB) starts its pre-appraisal mission in Thailand and will subsequently visit Viet Nam and China where the final workshop will be held. The project will be submitted to WB in the beginning in December and later to the GEF Secretariat.
The delegate from India stressed the importance of the issue of wastes from large ruminants and requested that similar action be initiated in South Asia.
e. First report on the State of the Worlds AnGR:
H. Wagner briefed on the outcome of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITWG-AnGR) which took place earlier this year and on the progress in the country report preparation for the State of the World (SoW) report. The deadline for the country report submission is December 2004. Based on these country reports, the report on priority actions should be prepared by FAO. The draft SoW-AnGR should be considered by the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) in 2006 and adopted by a technical conference in 2007. Countries which have not yet done so are encouraged to finalize and submit their final reports. Countries should continue to support their national focal point and consider the establishment and support for a Regional Focal Point for Asia which has already successfully functioned under the project with support from the Japanese Government.
APHCA special session on HPAI:
Monday, 27 September - afternoon
Updates on AI situation:
1. C. Benigno gave an update on the situation of HPAI in APHCA member countries. Each country was requested to contribute additional specific findings.
2. FAO TCPs to control HPAI in Asia - an overview:
3. The Director-General of FAO has approved US$ 5.6 million for immediate assistance to control the outbreak of HPAI. To date, five regional and six national TCPs have been approved and are being implemented. A further TCP for Malaysia is under consideration.
4. Guiding principles and recommendations on the prevention, control and eradication of HPAI were presented by J. Lubroth.
5. Progress on TCP/RAS/3006 - AI diagnosis and surveillance network in Southeast Asia was presented by W. Kalpravidh.
6. Progress on TCP/RAS/3010 - post avian influenza rehabilitation in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Viet Nam and Thailand was presented by F. Dolberg.
APHCA special session on HPAI
Tuesday, 28 September
1. HPAI in ducks was presented by T. Songserm.
2. Traceability in broiler meat processing industry was presented by Y. Muhpayak.
3. The meeting split into two working groups for South Asia and Southeast Asia to discuss specific sub-regional issues.
4. Summary of findings and conclusions:
The session recognized the threat of HPAI to poultry production in the Asian region, for food security and the livelihood of millions of farmers and particularly small-scale farmers and the economy of a number of countries. As long as the virus is circulating, threat to human health remains.
The session recognized and appreciated the reaction by the Director-General of FAO to the crisis in providing US$ 5.6 million emergency funds through TCP projects. So far, five regional and six national TCPs have been approved and one more national project (for Malaysia) is under consideration. Delegates noted the additional fundings which have been made available, directly or through trust-fund projects, to countries by various donors.
Recognizing the urgent need of some non-infected countries to upgrade their diagnostic and surveillance capacities to be able to detect and diagnose HPAI outbreaks, member countries requested FAO to consider using some of the not yet allocated funds for TCP projects to support these countries.
For South Asian countries, with specific emphasis to the GF-TADs proposal for SAARC and the TCP/RAS/3008, the session concluded:
GF-TADs - SAARC
A MoU, as the basis of collaboration between FAO and SAARC, has been agreed in principle and should be signed without further delay.
After having been briefed, the member countries fully supported this initiative and confirmed that they will bring the project proposal to the attention of their respective governments through relevant channels following the established SAARC procedures for submission of project proposals.
The project document has been sent to all participating countries. Comments are expected from countries by mid-October at the latest to be able to prepare the final document for consideration by the FAO-SAARC Technical Meeting planned for mid-November 2004.
TCPs for laboratory and diagnostic and surveillance network
General issues for both TCPs:
These TCPs have been highly appreciated and countries ensured their full support.
The TCPs, with a maximum funding of US$ 400 000 for each project and a maximum duration of two years in response to an emergency, can only be considered as funds for a start-up. Countries accepted that immediate action is required to undertake necessary steps to gradually transfer the responsibility of the coordination of the networks (initiated by the TCPs) to the respective regional organizations SAARC and ASEAN, using the SEA-FMD programme as a possible model.
Countries recognized that, in additional to the regional networks for diagnostic and epidemiology, efforts will have to be made to establish national networks involving all important stakeholders including the respective public health institutions and private laboratories.
Countries fully recognized that HPAI is a compulsory notifiable disease. Notification is an obligation for all types of laboratories. Some governments are required to make changes to their legislations.
Countries identified the need for more clearly defined roles and functions of the regional centers for laboratory diagnostic and epidemiology which will be established under the TCPs.
There are many donor countries and organizations providing assistance to HPAI control in the broadest sense. The TCPs with support of countries need to link complementing/competing projects and donors to harmonize approaches, so as to avoid duplication and to increase efficiency.
a. The inception meeting for this regional TCP to be held preferably back-to-back with the FAO-SAARC Technical Meeting in mid-November (subject to the timely nomination of the regional coordinator by the government of India - to be followed up by the delegate from India).
b. The session noted that India will take over the lead in the epidemiology area and the over-all coordination of the regional project while Pakistan will take the lead in the laboratory diagnostic area. Pakistan will make substantial improvements to its laboratory facilities. Both countries offered their support to their neighboring countries.
c. All countries have, since the beginning of the AI outbreak, stepped up their vigilance and surveillance activities. As the countries - with the exception of Pakistan - are not affected by HPAI, the approach of surveillance will be somewhat different to the affected countries. Surveillance activities will have to be farming system specific and will focus on avoiding incursion or immediate detection of possible outbreaks. It will focus on migratory and wild birds as a major risk factor, areas of high poultry and human density, guaranteeing border control of live animal movement.
d. Member countries recognized the limited number of trained epidemiologists in the sub-region and consider human resource development as a high priority.
e. The absence of disease information systems was recognized.
f. Countries identified as a priority the need for the development and testing of emergency preparedness plans (particularly important for non-affected countries).
g. Countries also suggested to undertake an economic evaluation of surveillance plans. This information could contribute to improved policy/decision-making.
h. Participants noted that not all countries have the laboratory capacity (equipment, proficiency, material supplies, etc.) for HPAI testing; and thus, further support is required.
i. While the TCP will promote establishment of regional networks for laboratory diagnostic and epidemiology, countries should initiate and promote national networks which should include the private sector to feed in to the regional networks.
This TCP, having its Inception Workshop in late July 2004 and the Regional Coordinator in place, is more advanced in its implementation. The TCP covers ten countries in the Southeast Asia sub-region with three different statuses: i) free countries, ii) countries which are affected by the virus and which are moving to eradication, and iii) countries where HPAI has become endemic.
a. Countries are requested to ensure timely nominations of the respective national coordinators.
b. The following needs have been identified:
a. Reagents and consumables to perform the necessary testing
b. The need for QA, SOPs and proficiency testing
c. Need for necessary equipment
d. Training with focus on specific techniques; and once trained, the continuity of these people in their positions
e. Safety for people working with HPAI: training equipment, PPE, SOPs
c. A training workshop will be held in Ipoh, Malaysia on basic diagnostic techniques for HPAI. This training course will be jointly sponsored by JICA, Government of Malaysia and FAO-APHCA.
Other issues related to HPAI
Human to human transmission of HPAI:
The Secretary informed the meeting that the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand, Thai Center for Disease Control (CDC) and WHO will announce today the first human to human transmission of HPAI. The transmission occurred through prolonged and close contact. This seems to be a limited additional threat as, according to the information received, the virus has not undergone mutation or re-assortment. The event clearly indicates that the HPAI crisis continues to demand full attention of countries.
Role of ducks:
It emerges, supported by the paper presented by Associate Prof Songserm, that ducks play an important role in the infection chain of HPAI and seem to be a reservoir for the virus. Ducks seem to be more tolerant to HPAI but multiply and shed the virus. Further research is urgently required.
FAO has published Recommendations on the Prevention, Control and Eradication of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Asia, prepared in close collaboration with OIE. The disease/outbreak factors were reviewed and should be taken into account in designing and implementing control programmes. The paper explains how countries could adopt a strategy appropriate to their individual situation.
It has been shown that the use of vaccines does not only protect healthy birds from the disease but also reduces the load of virus excreted by infected birds; and thus, the likelihood of transmission of the virus to other birds and humans. The decision on whether to use vaccines has to be made by the individual country, based on its own situation. The factors which countries should consider in making their decision include the ability to detect and react to the disease as early as possible, supported by a good institutional framework and sound legislation and supporting veterinary services. Any vaccination strategy should be developed in consultation with all stakeholders, including the private sector. The types of poultry and production sectors to be vaccinated must be determined and clearly documented. Infected poultry and those in contact with the virus should not be vaccinated.
Vaccination should be carried out under the supervision of official veterinary services with quality vaccines produced according to the OIE standards. A surveillance strategy has to be put in place to monitor possible circulating virus as well as the response to vaccination. This may include non-vaccinated sentinel birds and the application of serological tests capable of differentiating infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA).
The OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code states that a country may be considered free from HPAI based on the absence of the virus irrespective of whether vaccination has been carried out. Therefore, the use of vaccines does not imply automatic loss of export markets.
Participants stressed the need for close collaboration and harmonization of procedures amongst international organizations (FAO, OIE and WHO).
Classical swine fever:
The delegate from the Philippines proposed that a workshop/training on diagnosis of classical swine fever be conducted by APHCA. No objection was raised by the other delegates.
The Chairperson closed the meeting thanking all delegates, observers and resource persons for their contribution and support. He stressed the need for collaborative action under the umbrella of the regional organizations (i.e. ASEAN and SAARC) and the GF-TADs approach.
Conclusion and adoption of minutes of the 64th ex-com meeting and the 28th APHCA session:
Friday, 1 October - Chairperson - Dr J.Q. Molina (Philippines)
The minutes of the 64th ex-com meeting and the 28th APHCA session were adopted with some changes. The proposed budget for 2005 with the necessary amendments for the regional dairy initiative was approved.
The delegate from Indonesia offered to host the 29th APHCA session in Bali, during 26 - 29 September 2005. The delegate from Lao PDR proposed to host the 30th session in 2006 in Luang Prabang.
The meeting was closed at 11:30 hours.
Note: * As the Chairperson has been urgently called back by his Minister, the agenda item "other business" was advanced to give delegates the opportunity to raise issues for the attention of the Chairperson.