Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Disease (ECTAD) - Viet Nam

Cross border activities

Viet Nam - China border in Lao Cai Province, Viet Nam / ©FAO/Ki Jung Min

Due to the economic incentives and geological proximity, many cross border activities such as livestock, human, and wildlife movements have been common in the bordering regions of Viet Nam, specifically with China, Cambodia, and Lao PDR. Through these activities, not only livestock but also pathogens are exchanged, as influenza and other zoonotic pathogens do not respect the geographic or taxonomic borders, thus increase the risk of transboundary animal diseases spreading in the region.  Already in 2003, Viet Nam has experienced a huge economic and health impact from the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 outbreak. Till today, Viet Nam has been affected by several emerging avian influenza viruses such as H5N6 and continues to face the risk of the invasion of H7N9 virus.

In order to better exchange animal health disease situation updates among the countries and build up a quicker response, FAO ECTAD Viet Nam, in the coordination with Department of Animal Health, has been communicating and working with the neighboring countries. Four meetings with the Veterinary Bureau from China were organized and supported by the project relied on the input and coordination by the ECTAD teams from both China and Viet Nam to address these issues. The first meeting which took place in Beijing, 2011, and both countries agreed to organize follow-up meetings regularly and a working group was appointed to progress the outcomes.  In 2013, the second cross border meeting was held in Halong Bay, both countries agreeing on compartmentalization as a good option for relatively safe movement of livestock within this epizone, especially when accompanied by effective surveillance, reporting and outbreak response capacity. In 2014, the third Viet Nam-China cross border meeting was held in Nanning, China where both countries committed to increase the sharing of information and greater understanding of approaches to safe management of transboundary animal diseases (TADs) in the epizone for further cross border activities. Through the 3 cross border meetings, significant information has been collected since the last Viet Nam-China cross-border meeting through surveillance, risk analyses, value chain studies, network analyses along the border of Viet Nama and China in the Red River Delta Vietnam – southern China epizone. And most recently, in 2016, at the fourth Viet Nam – China cross-border meeting, both countries agreed on the roadmap for establishing safer trades of animal and animal products along the border, showing positive progress in years.

ECTAD is also facilitating the meetings and dialogue approach between the Department of Animal Health and Production (DAHP) Cambodia and DAH Viet Nam to develop a harmonized approach to understand the ecology of H5N1 in the Mekong Delta. These cross-border efforts featured the epizonal approach based on virus clade distributions and poultry production systems along the border. FAO ECTAD Viet Nam is continuing to strengthen the epizonal cross-border ecological characteristics that transcended international borders. More recently, the project has facilitated broader cross border collaboration including the public health sector, quarantine services, social scientists, and local producers and markets on both sides of the border.
FAO ECTAD Viet Nam activities to strengthen the epizonal cross-border risk management approaches, focused on value chains, trade routes, surveillance, and risk mitigation, not only improved information sharing and collaborations between countries but also safeguard human and animal health on both sides of the border.