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Strengthening collaboration between integrated research networks in Asia - the FBLI Networking Event and 3rd RCG meeting

Connecting ideas from different networks working in integrated approaches, updating the latest research progress as well as setting out plans for the final year of the FBLI program were the main objectives of the FBLI Networking Event and 3rd Regional Core Group (RCG) Meeting which took place in Bangkok, Thailand from 15 to 19 February 2016.

The one-day networking session kicked off the five-day event by gathering participants from integrated approach networks in South East Asia (SEA) and in China to share their experiences in Ecohealth, One Health, infectious diseases, surveillances. Networks and programs, including South East Asia One Health University Network (SEAOHUN); ECOnomic Development, ECOsystem MOdification and Emerging Infectious Diseases Risk Evaluation (ECOMORE); Asian Partnership on Emerging Infectious Diseases (APEIR); Ecohealth Network in Asia (EHNA); Mekong Basin Diseases Surveillance (MBDS); Veterinary without Borders (VWB); Public Health Foudation of India (PHFI) and one of the main donors in the field – International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada; presented their work after the introduction session of FBLI.

Discussions on how to foster collaboration among these networks in SEA and China revolved around two key questions: (i) what are the key drivers and health challenges related to agri-food systems in Asia / the context of ASEAN community? (ii) How can we strengthen and use “integrated approach” networks to address the above mentioned challenges? One proposed solution is to strengthen joint South-South cooperation in research, supported by Dr. Manish Kakkar (PHFI) who shared experiences in dealing with issues related to agri-food system in South Asia. In short, in the ever changing and complex world, the health issues related to agri-food system in the Asia need to be discussed in different aspects with the strong communication of all actors.

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Participants at the FBLI networking session at the Sukosol Bangkok hotel on 15 February 2016

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Dr. Manish Kakkar from PHFI sharing experiences from South Asia

Followed the networking event, the two day writeshop created a platform for FBLI research team members from four countries of Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and China to update their research progress, especially academic outputs, and plan for the future joint publications among countries. The session ran under the facilitation of Dr. Fang Jing as research component leader and Dr. Bruce Wilcox from Khon Khaen University, Thailand. Cross-country and regional discussions resulted in five planned joint potential publications as peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. These outputs will be generated from the research results over the last four years.

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Planning for future papers among Vietnam research group

The 3rd RCG meeting concluded the event with post-FBLI planning. Invited guests from PHFI, Vietnam Public Health Association (VPHA), Mahidol University/APEIR, together with FBLI RCG and team members, developed ideas for concept notes for the next phase.

The RCG meeting is held annually with the previous two in Jakarta, Indonesia (November 2013) and Da Nang, Vietnam (February 2015).