Stakeholders’ dialogue on improving Veterinary Services to facilitate trade in Tajikistan


A meeting jointly organized by the Sub-Regional Representation of the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as the OIE) for Central Asia, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) National Working Group of Tajikistan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) was held on 13-14 December 2022.

The event facilitated stocktaking on issues and challenges faced by stakeholders in the veterinary sector; identified the gaps in existing veterinary legislation, policies, and practices with international standards, as well as outlined key actions, including policy reforms, investments, and capacity building to improve veterinary services and facilitate trade.

About 45 local participants representing different stakeholders from Tajikistan such as the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Customs, Committee for Food Security, State Veterinary Service, and private sector took part in the meeting. WOAH was represented by Dr Mereke Taitubayev and Dr Dmitry Morozov.

There were four sessions during two days: Initiatives on Improving Veterinary Services in Tajikistan, Animal Identification System, Risk Assessment for Animals and Products of Animal Origin (POAO), and Import Requirements and Inspection for Animals and POAO.

The speaker from the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade provided the statistics for Tajikistan and data on the contribution of agriculture to the national GDP highlighting the role of livestock production in it. National policy in livestock development – to secure availability and accessibility of sufficient quantities of food for the domestic market and to upgrade the income for the farmers and related food production sector was demonstrated. The Ministry of Agriculture considers food safety an issue of great importance, as the present level of food safety does not provide an acceptable level of risk to consumers and foreign trade partners. In compliance with this policy, Committee for Food Security has defined the national priorities in animal health, veterinary public health, and the organizational structure and management of veterinary services.

Representative of ADB within the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program gave the presentation on the Modernisation of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures under the CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda (CITA) 2030 which underlined that these measures are the priority in CAREC 2030 strategy and explained how it helps countries implement the WTO SPS agreement, align SPS measures with international standards, build capacity to improve product quality and diversity, improve linkages, support transboundary animal disease control and develop a CAREC food safety network and quality control system. The speaker described common challenges in countries regarding plant health, animal health, and food safety and how modernized SPS measures can support integration into the global economy, presented the progress in the implementation of supporting investment projects, showed its products and services, and Strategic action plan on the strengthening SPS measures.

Dr Mereke Taitubayev, our sub-regional representative for Central Asia, held a talk on WOAH standards and tools to improve Veterinary Services worldwide.

“The important factor of safe trade between countries is to follow the international standards that are recognized at the global level, promoting transparency among the trade partners. WOAH as an intergovernmental organisation, focuses on transparent dissemination of information on animal diseases, and improvement of animal health globally and thus building a safer, healthier, and more sustainable world. The activities of Veterinary Services help minimize the spread of transboundary animal diseases and facilitate safe trade. We oversee various programmes, both cross-sectoral and those focused on specific needs, to improve the capacities of Veterinary Services and Aquatic Animal Health Services. These programmes are designed to empower and guide countries in the development and implementation of sustainable national plans which go well beyond purely veterinary matters. Our collaboration with ADB in the region is as an example of how joint work gives countries the opportunity to improve the capability of VS in the state.”

Dr Ismoil Andamov from the Committee for Food Security highlighted the importance of ensuring effective coordination through the clear division of competencies, coordination procedures, job descriptions, transparent appointing procedures, and performance standards. He described the tasks to ensure that a clear chain of command from the central down to district levels is established and clearly identified by all civil servants working in the VS. He defined a clear division of competencies between each institution in charge of VS activities and mechanisms of coordination with private veterinarians that received official tasks and ensured all the parties keep it documented. Dr Andamov considered the possibility of strengthening border veterinary control posts and anti-epizootic surveillance at the headquarters to optimize the use of human and physical resources.

Dr Dmitry Morozov gave the presentation on Veterinary Workforce Development Programme in the region with a focus on the development of enabling environment that includes adequate legislation, regulation, veterinary and para-veterinary education, and fielding of the professionals. Tajikistan Authorities were invited to the Sub-regional workshop on WFD that is planned in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2023. The country is supposed to nominate the participants for the sub-regional workshop on WFD representing different stakeholders and conduct a veterinary workforce survey.

Prof. Kazimieras Lukauskas, ADB consultant, stressed during his presentation that animal identification and registration and efficient movement controls are the basic tool for response to disease outbreaks, disease eradication, and control programs, prevention, and control of illegal cross-border activities in animal trade but also for zoning or compartmentalization.

All the participants agreed that Tajikistan needs a strategic approach, especially on investment in information and communication technology for better coordination among agencies, border posts, and central services and software for integration of SPS inspection and customs service, so that a database imports and export can be developed.

WOAH and ADB agreed to enhance cooperation in the Central Asia region in the area of animal health, food safety, and veterinary education.