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Building Pacific partnerships for animal health

Building Pacific partnerships for animal health

Through the Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer’s (OCVO) Pacific Engagement Program for Animal Health (PEPAH), Australia promotes a strong and unified Pacific family by supporting Pacific Island countries and territories to improve biosecurity, food security and animal health and welfare in the region. The program is committed to enhancing Australia’s partnerships with its near neighbours and supporting the important role of Pacific-led regional organisations in addressing shared animal health and biosecurity challenges.

Livestock health and biosecurity present a significant capacity gap for the Pacific region. Livestock are central to the social, economic, cultural, and food security of the Pacific region, but multiple capacity issues are impacting local animal production, with far reaching consequences in the region for sustainable livelihoods, food and nutrition security, economic prosperity, and resilient communities. Simultaneously, the biosecurity and animal health risk profile of the Pacific is rapidly changing.

Pacific Engagement Program for Animal Health’s Policy and Project Manager Amber Beavis in Fiji.

OCVO is a strong supporter of the Pacific Heads of Veterinary and Animal Production Services (PHOVAPS) network, which is the Pacific’s key decision-making structure on issues relating to animal health, production, welfare, and biosecurity. With a membership encompassing all 22 Pacific Island countries and territories, PHOVAPS is well placed to enable and coordinate Pacific-led action on animal health and biosecurity matters. An officer from OCVO has been embedded within international development organisation the Pacific Community (SPC) in Fiji for several weeks, to provide strategic and technical support in the lead-up to the upcoming meeting of the PHOVAPS network in late October 2023.

OCVO is working in close collaboration with the PHOVAPS leadership and membership, SPC secretariat, and the Office of New Zealand’s Chief Veterinary Officer, to support and strengthen PHOVAPS’ Pacific-wide coordination on animal health and biosecurity.

In addition to the 22 Pacific Island countries and territories, PHOVAPS membership also comprises Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France and the United States of America. PHOVAPS also comprises technical partners including SPC, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Organisation for Animal Health, other relevant regional and national development partners and stakeholders, and Australian and New Zealand animal health reference laboratories.

OCVO’s PEPAH team, alongside colleagues from the Chief Plant Protection Office, have frequent field surveillance and capacity building visits underway in the Pacific region. Australia remains committed to stepping up our support in the Pacific region, to mutually beneficial enhancements in biosecurity, animal health and plant health.

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