Jakarta, 7-8 December 2009

Dr. Tjeepy Soedjana, Chairman of ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Livestock

Representatives from FAO and OIE

Participants from ASEAN Plus Three Countries

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning.

On behalf of the ASEAN Secretariat, allow me to extend our warmest welcome to all of you to Jakarta and to this important meeting. At the outset, I wish to express our deepest appreciation to FAO and OIE for co-organising this event with the ASEAN Secretariat.

Transboundary animal diseases or TADs in short have been well recognised by ASEAN as an important issue for agricultural development. TADs pose threats to food security and safety, livelihoods of farmers, and public health. They are also a serious obstacle to intra-ASEAN and extra-ASEAN trade in live animals and livestock products. Moreover, the large number of livestock smallholders; informal and illegal trade of live animals and livestock products; and potential impact of climate change have made the control and prevention of TADs complex. As such, TADs should be addressed through a more comprehensive, integrated and concerted approach involving regional and national actions.

As you may be well aware, ASEAN is committed to realising the ASEAN Community by 2015. In order to accomplish this goal, ASEAN adopted the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community (2009-2015) integrating the three Blueprints of ASEAN Political-Security Community; ASEAN Economic Community; and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community as well as the Second Work Plan of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration. Livestock development and addressing TADs under the agriculture sector are integral part of this Roadmap.

The ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Livestock (ASWGL), under the purview of ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF), is the main sectoral body responsible for addressing issues and challenges in sustainable development of livestock and TADs. The recent AMAF meeting in November 2009 in Brunei Darussalam had reviewed the progress of cooperation on animal diseases control programme and initiatives. The Ministers commended the efforts and significant progress achieved in the control and prevention of TADs, particularly on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), and Classical Swine Fever (CSF) in the region. The Ministers fully supported greater collaboration between the animal health and the public health sectors on zoonoses towards better livelihoods of farmers, and public health.

Over the years, ASWGL with the support from the ASEAN Secretariat has been promoting cooperation on livestock development and TADs through four distinct but inter-related approaches. They are strengthening national animal health capability, particularly veterinary services through good governance with legal and institutional support; strengthening regional coordination on TADs with focus given to control and prevention of the diseases at source; supporting animal health sector towards greater contribution to multi-sectoral cooperation on pandemic preparedness and response, and public health; and enhancing partnership arrangement and cooperation, considering comparative advantages among concerned partner agencies such as FAO and OIE.

In order to facilitate closer regional cooperation on TADs among ASEAN Member States, ASEAN with the support of AusAID, EC, FAO and OIE is currently conducting a study on regional coordination on animal health and zoonoses. The main objectives of the study are two folds. One is to assess and present feasible models of regional coordination arrangements for TADs, including zoonoses, in ASEAN. Two is to explore regional strategies that will enhance the animal health sector’s capacity to more effectively collaborate with the human health sector in addressing emerging and “neglected” zoonotic diseases in ASEAN.

The study is envisaged to help ASEAN in shaping further regional cooperation on animal health, which will contribute to better prevention and control of TADs in the future. It is also envisioned that the study would provide recommendations to strengthening existing regional initiatives supporting animal health such as the ASEAN Animal Health Trust Fund (AAHTF), and the ASEAN Regional Animal Health Information System (ARAHIS).

Taking into consideration the ongoing ASEAN efforts in ensuring effective control and prevention of TADs, ASEAN commends and highly values the FAO/OIE joint initiative on the Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs) and is willing to contribute to the global alliance to prevent and control TADs. It is our high hope that the past experiences of ASEAN in dealing with TADs could provide useful inputs to the GF-TADs apart from the experiences and expertise of other regions.

In concluding my statement, I would like to express once again my sincere appreciation to FAO and OIE for their continued support and collaboration with ASEAN. I wish the Meeting fruitful deliberations and substantive outcomes, and all participants a pleasant stay in Jakarta.

Thank you.