Thursday 14 June 2012, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji
In support of developing and maintaining trade, the Land Resources Division (LRD) of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, in collaboration with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), is conducting a training workshop in Fiji from 13–15 June on animal disease reporting using the OIE World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS). Participants include veterinarians, paravets, animal health specialists, aquaculture officers and biosecurity officers from across the pacific region.
Mr Inoke Ratukalou, Acting Director of SPC’s Land Resources Division, who formally welcomed the participants to the workshop, said, ‘In the area of terrestrial animals and aquatic animals, developing and maintaining systems that truly reflect our animal disease status is very important. If we are to remain transparent and trustworthy in the eyes of our existing and potential trading partners, and indeed to the global family, then we must ensure that we have effective mechanisms, systems and structures, such as effective animal disease surveillance systems, in place, and that we regularly update our animal disease status through reliable and credible channels.’
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community has formal agreements with OIE, one of which concerns the dissemination of animal disease information from the Pacific region to OIE. SPC is committed to ensuring that member countries are able to regularly report on their animal disease status to strengthen the control of animal disease. To achieve this, SPC in collaboration with OIE, is running this workshop to train participants on the use of WAHIS.
‘OIE, as the globally recognised animal health standard-setting body under the World Trade Organization, offers this unique opportunity through their WAHIS system, and SPC-Land Resources Division recognises that animal disease reporting through WAHIS is vital if we are to develop and facilitate trade in livestock and livestock products for the region,’ Inoke Ratukalou said.
Dr Ken Cokanasiga, SPC Animal Health and Production adviser, said, ‘The notification of disease may have a negative impact on the economic performance of a country (e.g. by causing loss of export markets or discouraging tourism). Regaining credibility in the face of public knowledge of failure to meet international rules, is a costly and time-consuming exercise.’
To prevent such failure, timely and accurate reporting enhances a county’s ability to attract the technical and scientific support to address disease problems early.
Under LRD’s current strategic plan, biosecurity and trade facilitation are important strategic objectives, and developing and facilitating trade is an integral part of the SPC LRD work programme and the focus of its assistance to SPC’s 22 member countries.
The meeting brought together participants from Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. They joined the SPC and its representatives from regional organisations and OIE to strengthen capacity to lodge and regularly update animal health reports to OIE using WAHIS.
For more information, please contact: Ms Anju Mangal on (Tel: + 679 3370733; email: LRD HELPDESK:
or visit the SPC Website: www.spc.int.