Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Mark Schipp will travel to Fiji to meet with key representatives as part of a dedicated Pacific Engagement Program to build regional partnerships for enhanced biosecurity in the Pacific region.

The department’s Commonwealth Biosecurity 2030 strategic roadmap commits to deepening partnerships with Australia’s near neighbours to build capacity and strengthen national and regional engagement with key international bodies.

During his trip, Dr Schipp will meet with representatives from the Fijian Government’s Ministry of Agriculture, along with the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji, the Pacific Community (SPC), the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA Plus), and the Fiji National University.

Dr Schipp’s visit to Fiji will also include meetings with the Australian High Commissioner to Fiji and Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade colleagues based in the Pacific.

He said that the trip is part of the department’s commitment to increasing partnerships with Australia’s near neighbours and regional multilateral organisations.

“Through reinforcing the biosecurity systems of our Pacific neighbours – and strengthening the multilateral organisations that support them – the Pacific Engagement Program aims to safeguard animal health across the Pacific region,” he said.

To build scientific and technical animal health services in the region, the Pacific Engagement Program will strengthen key multilateral organisations through targeted funding to support the Pacific Community (SPC) to enhance regional animal health networks, and through initiatives to enhance Pacific membership of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

“Our focus on partnership building activities with our Pacific neighbours is consistent with Australia’s whole of government objective to support regional economic prosperity and food security as part of Australia’s Pacific Step-Up foreign policy,” Dr Schipp said.

“I look forward to reinforcing existing relationships and forging new partnerships in Fiji to deliver capacity development activities both in Fiji and in neighbouring countries in the Pacific region.”