Dr Bernard Vallat was elected Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in May 2000 by the World Assembly, which brings together the national Delegates of all OIE Member Countries. His first five-year term of office began on 1 January 2001. In May 2010, the Organisation’s 178 Member Countries elected Dr Vallat for a third term of office.
Bernard Vallat is 63 years old. He graduated from the National Veterinary School in Toulouse (France) in 1971, qualifying as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. He then took two postgraduate courses, first in tropical veterinary medicine (1972) and then in animal nutrition at the Institut National Agronomique in Paris (1973). In addition to this scientific training he studied economics and management at Paris X University, where he obtained an advanced graduate diploma in development economics in 1983 .
He joined the French civil service in 1973, having passed the national competitive examination for a post as public Veterinary Inspector.
The first seventeen years of his professional career were spent outside France, working on multilateral or bilateral overseas cooperation schemes in a number of countries in Central Africa and the Indian Ocean.
This work involved managing programmes on livestock health and production and training for farmers/livestock producers. He ran these programmes at the field level for six years before going on to supervise them at a national level in various developing countries.
During this time he acquired:
In 1990, Dr Vallat was recalled to France by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Overseas Cooperation. His new responsibilities included the management of international negotiations for the establishment and follow-up of development projects and technical assistance arrangements in developing countries, in most cases co-financed by specialist international organisations.
His activities within the Ministry were then broadened from livestock production and health matters to include the supervision of phytosanitary issues, agricultural production and markets, agronomic research, agricultural and industrial policies and the promotion of North-South trade.
In 1994, he returned to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to manage the Mission for International Sanitary Co-ordination within the General Directorate for Food, and was promoted a year later to the post of Chief Veterinary Officer for France, with the title of Deputy Director General for Food (in charge of animal and plant health and food safety and quality). In this capacity he was closely involved in the national and European Community management of major health crises, such as those involving BSE and dioxin.
Dr Vallat was elected President of the OIE International Animal Health Code Commission from 1997 to 2000. The work accomplished under his presidency, within the framework of the priorities and requirements decided by the World Assembly of Delegates of the OIE led to numerous normative texts being adopted within the space of three years.
In 2008 he received in Philadelphia the Prix Penn Vet World Award at the University of Pennsylvania, an award that is seen in the profession as a “Nobel Prize for Veterinary Medicine”.
During the past few years the OIE's activities and influence in the world have grown to an extent unprecedented in the history of this Organisation, which was created in 1924 before the United Nations and has its Headquarters in Paris.
Bernard Vallat was born in 1947 and is the father of three children. In addition to being Inspecteur Général de Santé Publique Vétérinaire de classe exceptionnelle, he has received several French decorations: Officier de la Légion d'honneur and Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite français; he is also Officier du Mérite Agricole in France and holds equivalent awards in several other countries. He is a member of a number of scientific and/or veterinary academies in France and in other countries around the world.