3 Feb 2023 (Virtual) – The secretariat of the Asia Pacific Quadripartite group of organisations has moved from the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as OIE) to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Every two years, the secretariat role rotates among members of the group. WOAH has held the position after it was passed on from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in July 2020.
Tweet on the signing ceremony forming a Quadripartite group of organisations in March 2022.
The Asia Pacific Quadripartite, which was formerly a Tripartite, is made up of international organisations working jointly to promote cross-sectoral collaboration when tackling identified issues at the animal, human, plant, and ecosystem interface. The group comprises the FAO, WHO, WOAH, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which formally joined in March 2022 .
The handover meeting was held online and attended by key members of regional staff from the Quadripartite organisations. Dr Hirofumi Kugita of the WOAH Regional Representation for Asia and the Pacific (RRAP) in Tokyo thanked his counterpart Dr Ronello Abila of the WOAH Sub-Regional Representation for South East Asia (SRR-SEA) in Bangkok for able management of secretariat duties, as Bangkok staff were credited for much of the work during the challenging period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Abila gave thanks to all partner organisations for work and contributions during the difficult time, which saw all involved working almost 100% virtually.
In this period, the Quadripartite completed many activities aimed at building trust and coordination. These included signing of the regional regional Joint Statement of Intent to Coordinate efforts, sub-group meetings and activities to advance relevant topics (AMR, rabies, food safety, etc.), and establishing information sharing platforms (i.e., a group activities calendar and SharePoint folders) to optimise coordination.
Dr Edwin Salvador, Regional Emergency Director for the WHO South-East Asia Region Office (SEARO), thanked WOAH staff for hosting the secretariat for the past two years, appreciating efforts during those difficult times, and noting dynamic leadership and the ability to host many activities. It was noted that Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director (WHO SEARO) kindly accepted a request from WOAH to carry on responsibilities of the Quadripartite secretariat from this year.
Finally, Dr Gyanenda Gongal, Senior Public Health Officer (WHO SEARO), underscored that the basis of success for Quadripartite coordination is trust and understanding, pointing out that efforts are already underway to ensure all activities are shared and planned on a quarterly basis. Dr Gongal added that WHO serving as secretariat plans on working closely at the country level, sending a clear message that different national ministries should work together for a common goal.
After brief updates from thematic sub-groups and their activities, the event concluded with participants thanking the outgoing secretariat for achievements and wishing success to the new secretariat for the next period.
Staff of FAO, WHO, WOAH and UNEP share a light moment during the virtual meeting.