FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

FAO supports ASEAN initiative in the establishment of a Coordinating Centre for Animal Health and Zoonoses

07/10/2016 Bangkok, Thailand

With the increasing threat of emerging and re-emerging zoonoses, transboundary animal diseases and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) today announced a regional approach to counter the dangers.

ASEAN has committed to the establishment of an ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Animal Health and Zoonoses (ACCAHZ). The centre’s main goal is to sustainably address common animal diseases and threats that can also compromise the health and livelihoods of millions of people dependent on livestock for their subsistence.  Based initially in Malaysia, the location of the centre will rotate within ASEAN countries.

Zoonoses refers to diseases that can spread between animals and humans and given the proximity many humans have to animals in the ASEAN region, the risk of such transmission is an ongoing threat.

The ACCAHZ initiative was presented during an ASEAN ministerial meeting in Singapore. The announcement comes just weeks after world leaders at the 71st UN General Assembly in New York committed to a broad, coordinated approach to address the underlying causes of AMR across major sectors involving human health, animal health and agriculture. The establishment of ACCAHZ reinforces ASEAN’s regional commitment to take a collaborative approach in tackling possible future threats of zoonoses and managing related crises. 

“FAO is committed to continue our collaboration with ASEAN in all capacities in order to foster the regional coordination needed to fight transboundary and zoonotic diseases,” said Kundhavi Kadiresan, Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific. “FAO’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases works closely with our member countries to enable sustainable control and prevention of animal diseases and other health threats and the impact these can have on global public health, food safety, food security and trade – it is part of our ‘One Health’ approach,” she added.

‘One Health’:   Humans, animals, plants

 The ‘One Health’ approach is a holistic system that aims to ensure the health of humans and the entire food chain. FAO is working with the World Health Organization and World Organisation for Animal Health to jointly implement One Health incorporating efforts to safeguard animal, plants and human health. The ACCAHZ will play an important role in supporting the achievement of ‘One Health’ mandates through the research and development required to curb the threats of transboundary animal diseases, zoonoses and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).   

With over seventy years of experience in livestock and animal health, FAO is technically equipped and stands ready to advise ASEAN in developing strategies and supporting the operationalization and management of the ACCAHZ.   

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