The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) has hosted the meeting of the Camel Middle East Network (CAMENET), held at Danat Al Ain Resort, from 13-15 November, 2017. The meeting was attended by H.E. Rashed Ali Al Mansouri, Acting Executive Director of the Livestock Sector at ADFCA, Dr. Majid Al Qassmi, Director of Animal Health and Development Department, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Dr. Ghazi Yahya, OIE Regional Representative in the Middle East, representatives of Italy's Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale (IZS), and representatives of member states of CAMENET.
While delivering the meeting's opening speech, Al Mansouri welcomed the attendees. He stressed the importance of the meeting of CAMENET's Steering Committee as a complement to the meeting held recently in Paris, which witnessed the adoption of the committee's formation from representatives of the member states, as well as presenting the network's objectives.
"Through this meeting, we look forward to continuing efforts to strengthen and develop scientific and technical capabilities in epidemiology and diagnosis of camel diseases. These capabilities will be developed through exchanging information on endemic or prevalent diseases, emerging diseases in herd, as well as collecting samples and examining them to detect communicable diseases. We also look forward to facilitating the coordination of international organizations with the relevant national authorities in member states on controlling of camel diseases, including new diseases, and facilitating cooperation between national, regional and international institutions, laboratories and reference centers, to exchange experiences," Al Mansouri stated.
He added that this cooperation will contribute to the development, standardization and adoption of reference methods of camels' major diseases in accordance with the standards and procedures of OIE. According to Al Mansouri, the cooperation also encourages the member states to conduct studies and research on breeding practices and factors that pose a threat to animals and humans
For his side, Dr. Majid Al Qassmi has reviewed the economic and social importance of camels in the region as well as the efforts exerted by the UAE to maintain livestock in the region, particularly camels. He further stressed the importance of concerting efforts among representatives of member states in CAMENET, to address the most important challenges of camels' health and productivity.
During the meeting, the attendees were introduced to the member states' role in conducting disease surveys and analyzing its results. They also reviewed the international systems used in collecting and transferring specimens inside and outside the country. The attendees further addressed ways to develop CAMENET website by enriching the information of the members states in this regard.
Furthermore, the representatives of the member states also presented and discussed the most important challenges and diseases related to camel health. Besides, ADFCA also launched an initiative to issue "Atlas of Camel diseases," to include the most important camel diseases and their diagnosis methods.
The meeting set many recommendations, which called on each member state to identify camels' most common diseases to enhance and develop capacities to control these diseases, as well as holding several training programmes and joint activities related to camels' health.
CAMENET started as an initiative of the Biological Standards Commission of the OIE, to exchange knowledge and assist member countries to better control camel diseases in the Middle East region and neighboring countries. For this reason, a GF-TADs sub-regional meeting on camel diseases was held during 14-16 February, 2016 in Abu Dhabi. The meeting stressed the importance of the network and recommended the establishment of a sub-regional network on camel diseases (CAMENET) based in Abu Dhabi and designed to develop the camel sector in the sub-region. The development of CAMENET represents a strategic step forward in the GF-TADs agenda addressing the specific challenges of the growing camel sector in the sub-region with potential global impact on the camel economy.