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2015 OIE Global Conference on Aquatic Animal Health: ‘Riding the wave to the future’

20-22 January 2015

The OIE is pleased to announce that the 3rd OIE Global Conference on Aquatic Animal Health will be held in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) on 20-22 January 2015. This conference will build on the success of the First and Second OIE Global Conferences on Aquatic Animal Health held in Bergen, Norway (2006) and Panama City, Panama (2011) which helped to raise awareness about the importance of aquatic animal health and to build a global framework for improving management, prevention and control of aquatic animal diseases.

Aquaculture is recognised as the fastest growing food animal producing sector in the world with nearly 50% of the global supply of aquatic animals for human consumption now derived from aquaculture. However, aquatic animal disease outbreaks continue to cause significant losses in aquaculture production throughout the world and are having a major detrimental impact on national economies in some countries and regions. These disease outbreaks threaten to limit this rapidly expanding sector unless the governance of Veterinary Services and Aquatic Animal Health Services is strengthened and effective aquatic animal health policies and programmes complying with OIE standards are implemented to prevent or control these disease outbreaks.

A very high proportion of aquatic animal production is traded internationally, accounting for 10% of total global agricultural exports. Twice as much seafood (fisheries and aquaculture) is traded internationally compared to terrestrial animal meat products (beef, poultry, sheep and pig meat). Because of the rapid growth in aquaculture worldwide and the disease risks associated with the increasingly globalised trade in live aquatic animals and their products, OIE activities in the field of aquatic animal health and standards for the sanitary safety of global trade are important and relevant to all regions of the world. Effective implementation of OIE standards will contribute to ensuring a sustainable sector that can provide a key source of high quality animal protein for the growing human population.

For over 50 years the mandate of the OIE has included aquatic animals. The OIE constantly encourages Members to meet their OIE membership obligations, and to implement the OIE standards for disease prevention and control, and trade in aquatic animals in line with the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. Veterinary and Aquatic Animal Health Services capacity to implement OIE standards is essential to safeguard aquatic animal health and facilitate trade. However, with most aquaculture production originating in developing and emerging countries, there is also an on-going need to build capacity to support implementation of the international standards by all OIE Members.

The OIE is grateful for the support of the Government of Vietnam, notably the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development who will generously host this conference.

This major international conference will highlight the critical contribution of aquatic animal health programmes to improving aquaculture productivity and sustainability, and consequently the availability of high quality protein and other food, particularly to people in developing countries. The conference will help to raise awareness of the need for good governance of Veterinary Services and Aquatic Animal Health Services (both governmental and private sector), and the involvement of veterinarians, aquatic animal health professionals, and other partners in assuring the production of aquaculture products that are safe for human consumption and appropriately certified to meet international trade requirements.

The conference will address the role and responsibilities of key players in the production chain, including producers, food processors, private veterinarians and aquatic animal health professionals, and the importance of effective working relationships between these players, the official Veterinary Services and, as appropriate, Aquatic Animal Health Services.

The Conference will feature presentations from speakers representing national Veterinary Services and Aquatic Animal Health Services, other relevant Competent Authorities, international organisations, industry, and aquatic animal health experts. Participants will be invited to share their experiences and to identify future needs and priorities for the OIE to address in order to minimise the burden of diseases in global aquatic animal production for Member Countries.

Outline of the Conference

Participants will be able to share valuable experience in the prevention, detection and control of aquatic animal diseases, and how to ensure safe international trade in aquatic animals and their products.

The Conference will:

  •  focus on the requirements for effective aquatic animal health management, covering all matters under the OIE mandate, and provide practical advice on how to implement OIE standards published in the Aquatic Animal Health Code and the Manual for Diagnostic Tests for Aquatic Animals to ensure effective prevention and control of aquatic animal diseases; raise international awareness of OIE recommendations relevant to good governance in aquatic animal health including the quality and performance of VS and AAHS;
  •  discuss how OIE Members can improve VS and AAHS using elements of the OIE PVS framework (initial PVS evaluation, PVS gap analysis, PVS follow-up and veterinary legislation missions);
  •  review the experiences of OIE Members in developing and managing aquatic animal health programmes (prevention, detection and control) including the challenges and priorities of developing and emerging countries;
  •  identify practical steps to improve aquatic animal disease prevention and control (e.g. risk analysis, biosecurity systems, implementing zoning and compartmentalisation);
  •  raise awareness of the role of veterinarians and aquatic animal health professionals in both the public and the private sector and their role in strengthening aquatic animal health policies and programmes;
  •  raise awareness of the need to improve the undergraduate, post graduate and continuing education of veterinarians and aquatic animal health professionals in the public and the private sectors;
  •  raise awareness of the importance of effective communication, including media relations, amongst all concerned sectors, public and private;
  •  provide practical guidance on how OIE Members (particularly developing countries) can mobilise governments and donors to improve AAHS, including the role of VS (as appropriate), to meet the OIE standards for quality of VS and AAHS, good governance, and aquatic animal disease prevention and control methods;
  •  adopt recommendations for governments and the OIE aiming to minimise the risks of diseases for aquatic animal production.

Who will attend

Approximately 300 international participants are expected to attend the Conference, including:

  •  OIE National Delegates and National Focal Points for Aquatic Animals
  •  Other national government representatives
  •  Representatives of OIE Collaborating Centers and References Laboratories
  •  Representatives of relevant International Organisations having official agreements with the OIE
  •  International and national/private sector organisations, and individual experts
  •  Potential donors from the public and private sector

The conference will take place over 2 1/2 days and will include ministerial statements, keynote addresses, technical presentations and discussions, from which participants will agree conference recommendations for both Member Countries and OIE to improve global aquatic animal health.

Simultaneous interpretation in English/French/Spanish will be provided for all plenary sessions.

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