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Communicating more effectively

The old adage "get the job done, and let them know", used for centuries by all those who work or create, is as valid as ever despite globalisation, the information revolution, and the incredible diversity in information media.

More than ever, the growth, or even the survival, of companies and organisations depends on the proverb's two pillars: excellence and communication, in a world where monopolies are disappearing and where competition is all-pervasive.

In this context, the OIE was duty-bound to invest in means of publicising its activities and its usefulness to the international community, pursuant to the recommendations of the strategic plan under way.

The Veterinary Services of the OIE Member Countries are also fully aware of the overriding need for improved communications, in order to convince policy makers and civil society of the economic and social worth of the missions these services perform every day. The International Committee of the OIE has thus adopted resolutions requesting the OIE to assist the Member Countries in this endeavour. In order to meet the needs both of the Central Bureau and of the Member Countries, a series of actions has already been implemented, in particular:

  • the hiring of an expert in communications at the Central Bureau, in order to develop the OIE's communication capacities;
  • ongoing contacts with the specialist and non-specialist press. For example, our communications expert has personal contacts with journalists from the major international press and media agencies;
  • press conferences given by the Director General or his staff, following all important events organised by the OIE itself, or in collaboration with other international organisations;
  • training OIE staff in communication techniques, particularly for the benefit of those who work on the most "high-profile" projects;
  • modernisation of communication tools through:
    • the production of a new video cassette introducing the OIE and its activities;
    • the revision of the OIE's graphics house style, including a new logo and a new Web site design, making the latter more detailed, user-friendly, and more attractive and comprehensible to the public at large;
    • the modernisation of the OIE Bulletin, and increased consideration on the part of all the OIE's publications for the concerns of their readers (debates, background articles, illustrations).
  • drawing on improvements in communication at the Central Bureau to brief policy makers in the Member Countries, on a regular basis, on the importance of the missions and activities of the Veterinary Services for society as a whole;
  • the holding of meetings and conferences, through the OIE's regional representations, on capacity-building in the Veterinary Services, in order to make them capable of meeting today's challenges, and using communication as an essential tool for crisis prevention and management, as well as for improved relations between consumers and the Veterinary Services;
  • the OIE's presence at all relevant international events, reflected in the active participation of OIE representatives in events such as international conferences and exhibitions, for example:
    • the organisation of a workshop on "communication with consumers" within the framework of the WHO/FAO/OIE conference on BSE, held at the OIE Central Bureau in June 2001;
    • representation and active participation of the OIE in the World Veterinary Congress, to be held in Tunis in September 2002. The Central Bureau will organise a seminar on the organisation the of Veterinary Services and their role in guaranteeing food safety. Representatives from over 70 Member Countries are expected to attend the seminar.

All the above changes will be reflected by a new, dynamic and future-oriented visual identity, and in particular by the new logo that will be found on all the OIE's printed and audiovisual media as of May 2002. The OIE's new, modern look will of course in no way detract from its traditional values of serious and top-quality scientific work.

Bernard Vallat

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