ASEAN-Australia-FAO strengthening regional coordination to avert pandemics of animal origin

27/10/2021 Jakarta, Indonesia

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven the necessity for higher coordination to deal with and minimise unfavorable impacts of rising infectious ailments. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is taking a step ahead to make sure higher preparedness and resilience by way of stronger regional cooperation amongst its Member States and companions.

Pandemic classes outcome to technical help challenge

With funding from the Australian Government, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)helps ASEAN to strengthen regional mechanisms to deal with animal and zoonotic ailments with pandemic potential. ASEAN at present introduced the launching of the ASEAN-Australia-FAO regional technical help challenge throughout the forty-third ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) Meeting.

The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAO RAP) will probably be implementing the AUD 2.9 million challenge by way of its Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases. The two-year challenge will streamline coordination for simpler regional pandemic responses and improve animal well being capability constructing within the area.

“The Strengthening Mechanism in Animal-health for a Resilient ASEAN (SMART-ASEAN) project will improve regional mechanisms to prevent, early detect, and response to the animal and zoonotic diseases with pandemic potential,” mentioned Indonesian Minister of Agriculture Dr. Syahrul Yasin Limpo, Chair of the forty third AMAF Meeting. “Only with well-established coordination will the region be able to address disease threats,” he added.

Not a stranger to zoonotic ailments

The ASEAN area has had a number of illness outbreaks which are of animal origin or zoonotic. The Nipah virus in 1999 and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003. The zoonotic H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) since its emergence and unfold in 2004 continues to stay sporadic in a number of nations.

These threats present {that a} dynamic and quickly evolving zoonotic illness panorama continues to current a threat to meals safety, livelihoods, and public well being – significantly in Southeast Asia, the place substantial parts of the inhabitants are dependent upon livestock for vitamin and livelihoods.

ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Animal Health and Zoonoses

ASEAN Member Countries agreed to determine the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Animal Health and Zoonoses (ACCAHZ) in 2016. The settlement entered into pressure in September 2021 reinforcing ASEAN’s regional dedication to a collaborative strategy in tackling future threats of zoonoses and managing associated crises.

The SMART-ASEAN challenge will assist ACCAHZ together with its different key precedence areas in strengthening regional collaboration; preparation and response coordination to rising infectious ailments; technical capability for pandemic preparedness and response; and coverage growth of pandemic and zoonotic illness threat discount.

Australian and FAO dedication to ASEAN

FAO Representative in Indonesia Rajendra Aryal spoke on the AMAF Meeting underscoring the significance of One Health strategy to pre-empt future pandemics.

“The COVID-19 pandemic threatens food security and livelihood globally, including ASEAN. The food security of 135 million people is in crisis level or getting worse. It could be nearly doubled at the end of the year. We don’t want this to happen again,” mentioned Arya. He inspired ASEAN to work extra collaboratively to deal with illness threats utilizing a One Health strategy. “Together with the Australian Government, FAO is committed to continue our collaboration with ASEAN in all capacities to foster the regional coordination needed to fight the animal and zoonotic diseases,” he added.

Counsellor on the Australian Mission to ASEAN, Jillian Ray, highlighted on the AMAF Meeting the significance of regional well being safety partnerships. “Australia is extremely pleased to be investing $2.9 million over the next two years to strengthen ASEAN mechanisms that prevent, detect and respond to zoonotic and animal diseases. This investment builds on Australia’s previous work with ASEAN to strengthen animal health, biosecurity, and food security in supply chains. This complements our near $1 billion in ODA to Southeast Asia this year, supporting health security, stability and economic recovery.”


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