NATION

International Consultants Conclude Animal Health Funded Mission

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) funded the first ever Veterinary Legislation Support Programme (VLSP) Identification mission to Fiji. The two international consultants from Canada and Rome had successfully
15 Nov 2016 11:00
International Consultants Conclude Animal Health Funded Mission
OIE VLSP International Consultants Dorothy Geale and Ambra Gobena meeting with BAF staff. Photo: BAF

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) funded the first ever Veterinary Legislation Support Programme (VLSP) Identification mission to Fiji.

The two international consultants from Canada and Rome had successfully wrapped up the mission on identifying the gaps in the current veterinary legislations of Fiji.

In addition the consultants also reviewed all other legislations directly and indirectly related to the veterinary domain.

A high level ministerial meeting was organised to meet the OIE VLSP consultants at the Office of the Attorney-General on November 3.

The meeting was attended by Attorney-General and Minister for Public Enterprises, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Minister for Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar, Minister for Industry and Trade Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, Permanent Secretary Public Enterprise David Kolitagane, Permanent Secretary of Agriculture Jitendra Singh, Solicitor- General Sarvada Nand Sharma, senior Legal officers and legal drafters, OIE Permanent Delegate of Fiji, Executive Chairman BAF Mr. Khan, OIE VLSP consultants Dr.  Dorothy Geale, Ambra Gobena and BAFs Acting International Co-operation’s Officer Jokatama Raqisia.

The OIE VLSP Team emphasised on the importance of harmonisation of laws to Sanitary and Phytosanitary Safety (SPS) Agreement, which includes aligning with OIE, International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) standards to strengthen and align the legislation to international standards for uniformity with the WTO member countries.

The OIE VLSP team also stated that there has to be harmonisation among related pieces of the legislation for respective Ministries in Fiji, such as Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Ministry of Agriculture and other relevant agencies that fall under the veterinary domain to clearly outline their duties and responsibilities.

The legislative frame work should incorporate key international models and obligations for more transparency and good governance.

The OIE VLSP consultants meet and consulted numerous stakeholders including Fiji Crop and Livestock Council, Fiji Meat and Industry Board, Fiji Co-operative Dairy Company Limited, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Consumer Council of Fiji, Fiji National University, Legal Drafting Team, Society of Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals (SPCA) and other stakeholders.

A report of the identification mission will be submitted by the OIE VLSP consultants to OIE headquarters in Paris before it’s disseminated to the OIE Permanent Delegate of Fiji through diplomatic channels.

Fiji will sign the second phase mission agreement once OIE has endorsed the engagement and assistance.

Modernisation of Fiji’s veterinary legislations and harmonisation with the international approach of farm to fork will not only improve the veterinary services, but also improve the animal disease diagnostics; surveillance and response while also improve the animal welfare aspects.

The improved veterinary services will indirectly improve human health as there will be better management of zoonotic (Pertaining to a zoonosis: a disease that can be transmitted from animals to people or, more specifically, a disease that normally exists in animals but that can infect humans. There are multitudes of zoonotic diseases. Some examples include: anthrax.) diseases in the country and also meeting national obligations.

 

BACKGROUND

Fiji Veterinary Legislation dates back to 1973 which has not been reviewed for past 43 years and with increased trade, agriculture and climate change, there is grave need for the modernisation of the legislations.

The modernsation of legislation is very important not to only meet with the international standards and obligations as a World Trade Organisation (WTO) member country, but to also meet the requirements of the trading partners mainly while trading animal and animal products.

Fiji has been a member of WTO since January 14, 1996, and member of OIE since May 18, 2007.

OIE conducted the Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) in 2007 and 2014 however country report was still in draft stage.

Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) has been representing Fiji in OIE since September 2015 with Xavier R Khan appointed as Permanent Delegate for Fiji to OIE.

The eight focal points for OIE which include animal disease notification, animal production food safety, animal welfare, aquatic animals, communication, veterinary laboratories, veterinary products, veterinary drugs and wildlife were also appointed in September 2015.

Biosecurity Authority of Fiji, through assistance of Government and the permanent delegate secured assistance by OIE for the VLSP and Gap Mission to Fiji mainly hopes to improve the Fijian Veterinary Services.

Source: Biosecurity Authority of Fiji

 

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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