APHCA's mission is to enhance the level of nutrition and standard of living of livestock keepers, especially smallholders, livestock value-chain actors, and communities at large through equitable, sustainable and safe livestock sector development. This is achieved by promoting information-generation and exchange, providing normative guidance and coordinating joint action among members countries and other stakeholders.
The establishment of APHCA within the framework of the FAO was initiated by Asian nations at the 5th FAO Regional Conference on Animal Production in 1974. The Commission was approved and established by FAO at the 60th Session of the FAO Council under article XIV of the FAO Constitution and became operational in December 1975.
Membership is open to countries of FAO/United Nations, located wholly or partly in the region (defined by latitudes 50o North and 50o South, longitudes 60o East and 130o West). The geographical area covered by APHCA is home to more than two-thirds of the global domestic livestock population and to more than half of the world's poor livestock keepers.
The current 18 member countries are Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Iran, DPR Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
APHCA is led by an Executive Committee, which comprises: the Chairperson; the Vice-Chairperson; three members elected by the country delegates annually from among themselves; and the immediate past Chairperson of the Commission.
The Senior Animal Production and Health Officer of the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, based in Bangkok, is the Secretary of APHCA and the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee provides guidance and assistance in the timely implementation of programmes that have been approved by the Commission.
APHCA is mainly funded from annual membership fees paid by its member countries. These fees are fixed according to the country categories that are broadly related to Gross National Product. These fees are paid to the FAO Trust Fund. The Secretary and part of the APHCA Secretariat staff are provided by FAO.
Furthermore, some countries established National Currency Funds (NCFs) to promote technical cooperation among developing member countries, these funds being available only for use in the country that provides them. The establishment of NCF was made a formal part of the Agreement for the Establishment of the Commission as a result of an amendment passed in 1979 at its 4th Annual Session. NFCs are administered by the members concerned.
Finally, APHCA is open to extra-budgetary contributions. The Government of Australia made an extra-budgetary contribution of A$175,000 during 1982-85 as special core budget support to the APHCA Trust Fund. These funds were used to support specific programmes, including regional and national training courses, TCDC activities, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) control, and rinderpest eradication in the region.
APHCA's strategy for achieving its mission is are founded on the principles of collective self-reliance and mutual assistance between the developing countries and the Commissions main activities relate to the facilitation of information exchange and coordination.
Based on the available funds, the Commission prepares a work programme at its annual session intended to support sustainable improvements in rural livestock agriculture and resource use by means of disease control, improved services and inputs, enhanced organizational efficiency, diversification of farm production, value-chain development, and other initiatives. Some examples of specific programmes supported by APHCA are:
The implementation of these programmes is based on an exchange of experience, expertise, technology and information, common discussion through seminars and workshops to identify problems and find solutions, and inter-country training and visits to stimulate development activities at national levels.
In addition to reaching practical goals, APHCA has built a fund of good will and a reputation for performance with the other United Nations agencies and international organizations, developed countries and development actors which seek to support programmes for rural development based on small farmer livestock production. APHCA's performance has further earned it a reputation as advocacy body for regional livestock policy makers and industry stakeholders.