Impact Assessment of RSU
The Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) Forum within SAARC is the highest technical level of consultative institution comprising the Chief Veterinary Officers/Animal Husbandry Commissioners/Director Generals/Directors from the Ministry of Agriculture/Livestock ( from the eight SAARC Member States (MSs) dealing with livestock production and animal health. The first SAARC CVOs forum met in New Delhi, India on 9-10 June 2008 largely to discuss the challenges of Trans-boundary animal diseases (TADs) and other aspects of livestock in the region. So far four subsequent SAARC Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) Forum (Bangladesh-2009, Sri Lanka-2010, Kathmandu-2014, Kathmandu-2016) and one special CVOs Forum (Bangkok-2015) have met which, inter alia, agreed on various actions related to animal production and TADs control, including Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). The Sixth meeting of the SAARC Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) Forum will be held in Thimphu Bhutan from 9-10 May 2017. The Forum laid a solid foundation of a platform for multilateral discussions and paved way for the establishment of a framework for sustainable regional cooperation on animal health in South Asia.

On the recommendation of the CVOs Forum and with approval of the SAARC Summit, the Regional Support Unit (RSU) was established in June 2010 as a FAO Project with external donor support to implement regional projects to control and manage priority Trans-boundary Animal Diseases of livestock though a harmonized regional policy for South Asia. Two successive externally supported projects were implemented by FAO in partnership with the SAARC Secretariat, FAO Regional Office for Asian and Pacific (RAP) and the SAARC Member States (MSs).

The overall objective was to contribute to the improvement of food safety, human health, sufficient and balanced nutrition and wellbeing, and alleviation of poverty in SAARC MSs through improved control of important TADs, including the then on-going crisis due to HPAI. The specific objective was to strengthen and empower SAARC in its ability to prevent, control and eradicate TADS, including HPAI, through improved veterinary and public health services and inter-sectoral collaboration on a regional basis. This regional project also strengthened the Regional Diagnostic Laboratories (RDLs) for FMD, PPR and HPAI in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively and had created valuable network of Epidemiology and laboratory experts in the region.

While specific outputs have been shared with the stakeholders, e.g., Member States, through various meetings including SAARC CVOs Forum, the time has come now to make an objective assessment of the contributions of RSU as viewed by the stakeholders and the necessity to continue with the Institution, i.e., RSU. In order to do so, a brief questionnaire-based survey is contemplated on the usefulness of RSU as perceived by the stakeholders. This will help in assessing the urge to continue and find ways to sustain beyond the donor supported initiatives. The CVOs are requested to kindly apply their best judgment in responding to the questionnaire and send in confidence to RSU. A synthesis of the collective responses will be shared during the 6th CVO’s Meeting in May, 2017.

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