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74th Annual General Session of the International Committee of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

21 – 26 May 2006

The 74th Annual General Session of the International Committee of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) was held in Paris from 21 to 26 May 2006 .

The General Session notably brings together representatives appointed by the Governments of the 167 OIE Member Countries.

Approximately 600 participants representing Member Countries, intergovernmental organisations (FAO, WHO, World Bank, WTO etc.) took part in the event. The Session was honoured by the presence, alongside the President and the Director General, of highranked authorities, including numerous Ministers of OIE Member Countries.

Member Countries praised the role played by the OIE in the global fight against avian influenza. They particularly saluted the agreement reached with the World Bank and key donors to support developing and in transition countries to invest in programmes aimed at bringing their Veterinary Services in line with OIE standards.

The main points dealt with during the Session were as follows:

  • The session accredited the application of a new Collaborating Centre the Centre for Disease Control (CDC in Atlanta ) with the aim of better preventing and controlling animal diseases transmittable to human beings. It also recognized the crucial role played by the OIE network of 170 reference laboratories and collaborating centres in reaching the organization's objectives ;
  • Member Countries welcomed the new World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS) that will strengthen OIE's actions in terms of transparency on state of animal diseases worldwide;
  • Consistent with the framework of its usual standardsetting activities, the Committee adopted new and updated international standards aimed at providing better safeguards for the sanitary safety of world trade in terrestrial and aquatic animals and their products as well as guidelines to better implement surveillance of animal diseases and zoonoses on their territory.
  • Member countries also voted new improvements to chapters about animal welfare and food safety in production phase;
  • They adopted policy lines on identification and animal traceability;
  • Special attention was given to updating the chapter on BSE in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code. Adopted texts highlighted global surveillance methods that will allow the OIE to propose willing Member Countries a new procedure for an official recognition of their status on the disease;
  • The Session approved the lists of countries or zones recognized by the OIE as being free from foot and mouth disease, rinderpest, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia and bovine spongiform encephalopathy;
  • Member Countries also decided that notification to the OIE of any detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wildlife was to be compulsory;
  • The list of Veterinary Critically Important Antimicrobials (VCIA) defined by OIE was published;
  • The worldwide zoosanitary situation has been examined in detail ;
  • Two technical items of biggest interest were presented and debated during the Session and gave rise to Resolutions passed by the International Committee:
  • Economic and social justification of investment in animal health and zoonoses;
  • Future approaches needed to ensure veterinary education meets societal demands.

The high level of scientific expertise of the speakers and the quality of the debates that followed the presentation of each technical item will have served to promote the global application of concepts that are essential for improved control of animal diseases and zoonoses.

The International Committee undertook the election of the new OIE President. Dr Barry O'Neil was elected for a threeyear mandate. Members of the Administrative Commission, Regional Commissions and Specialist Commissions were also elected by the General Assembly.

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