Asean Sectoral Working Group on Livestock to discuss animal diseases, livestock development

by Lyna Mohamad

BANDAR SERI BENGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ANN) - The Asean Sectoral Working Group on Livestock (ASWGL) Meeting was officially opened yesterday by Hajah Aidah binti Haji Mohd Hanifah, the Director of Agriculture and Agrifood, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism.

Brunei Darussalam, through the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, is hosting and chairing the meetings – the second time it is held in the country

The meeting began on April 27 and will end tomorrow.

The meeting, which is taking place at the Permai Meeting Room of the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood, is being attended by Asean member state delegates and government officials; and members from the Asean Secretariat, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Absent from the meeting with acknowledgment are the delegates from Lao PDR and Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

In her speech, Hajah Aidah pointed out that ASWGL is recognised as a technical body under key Asean initiatives for livestock development, animal diseases, and threats to human health from zoonotic diseases.

This is made possible with the support of the Senior Officials Meeting – Asean Ministers for Agriculture and Forestry (SOM-AMAF), and the Asean Ministers for Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF).

“ASWGL, under its key initiatives and achievements, continues to recognise the significant socio-economic impacts of animal diseases as well as the development and implementation of strategic frameworks and mechanisms at national and regional levels,” said the director.

Examples of this technical body’s focus areas, according to Hajah Aidah, are priority transboundary animal diseases (TADs) such as Foot and Mouth Disease and Avian Influenza; Asean Coordinating Centre for Animal Health and zoonosis (ACCAHZ); strengthening veterinary services programmes such as the Asean Regional Animal Health Information System (ARAHIS); and collaborative programmes with FAO and OIE.

“The initiatives are in line with addressing challenges currently affecting Asean and the world,” she said.

She added that other pressing concerns include the effects of food insufficiency on public health and the livelihood and movement of animals due to zoonosis; international and regional economy and trade through the harmonisation of standards; and climate change and its impact on livestock production.

She further stated that it is hoped that Asean member countries will continue to strive hard to work together for a safer and more prosperous Asean Community, explaining that these efforts can be strengthened further through continuous collaboration and partnerships with dialogue and development partners such as the FAO and OIE.

“I believe that not only will this meeting provide an avenue for sharing and updating of the network’s achievements and activities over the past few years, it can also facilitate necessary decision-making to advance the agendas of the ASWGL, and forge new partnerships through relevant livestock-related projects in the region,” she said.