Paris, 29 May 2013 – For its 81st General Session, the OIE had the honour of welcoming Her Royal Highness Princess Haya, OIE Goodwill Ambassador. Numerous Ministers of OIE Member Countries also honoured the Assembly with their presence at the Opening Ceremony.
Over 800 participants, representing Member Countries of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and numerous international, intergovernmental, regional and national organisations (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Health Organization, World Bank, World Trade Organization, European Commission etc.) took part in the event.
The Representative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced an important contribution to support the strengthening of Veterinary Services worldwide.
The World Assembly of OIE Delegates adopted a new chapter on broiler chickens, which includes criteria and measurables for animal welfare in broiler production systems.
"This new chapter is the culmination of a long-term undertaking and it has taken OIE Member Countries several years to reach a consensus. It also goes to show that our Organisation's international standards-setting process, based on scientific excellence and democratically adopted standards – one country, one vote – achieves results of worldwide importance" declared Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE.
A new chapter on rinderpest was adopted that confirms its global eradication in animals and enacts measures to be taken in the event of any accidental or deliberate release from laboratories still holding the virus.
A global communication programme on the sequestration and destruction of rinderpest virus was launched during the General Session. Supported by the United Kingdom, which currently chairs the G8 Global Partnership, the campaign includes the use of a video clip calling on OIE Member Countries to respect the commitments they agreed to in a vote at the OIE in 2011.
The OIE Delegates continued their work in the field of antimicrobial resistance by updating an important chapter of the OIE Code on responsible and prudent use of antimicrobial agents in veterinary medicine in the 178 OIE Member Countries.
This year, the Assembly has added peste des petits ruminants (PPR) and classical swine fever (CSF) to the list of diseases for which Member Countries can apply for official recognition of their disease free status.
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or 'mad cow disease'
During this year's Session, the World Assembly of national Delegates recognised Bulgaria and Costa Rica as having 'controlled risk' status with regard to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE); Israel, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Slovenia and the United States of America were recognised as having a 'negligible BSE risk'.
The official status of all the countries that already had an officially recognised status remains unchanged.
Foot and mouth disease
New zones were recognised as officially free from foot and mouth disease (FMD), in Argentina, Bolivia and Peru.
The OIE endorsed the national control programme for FMD submitted by Bolivia.
African horse sickness (AHS)
In 2012, OIE Members validated the application of an official procedure for official recognition of countries' AHS status. This year, the Assembly recognised, for the first time, 59 countries as being free from the disease.
The Assembly gave special attention to the exceptional nature of the influenza A(H7N9) episode in the People's Republic of China in April 2013. The latest available information, delivered to the Assembly by the Delegate of China, and the results of the recent OIE expert mission to China, were presented to Member Countries with a view to preparing measures to try to prevent any worldwide spread of the virus in animals.
This year, the Delegates accredited five new Collaborating Centres and six Reference Laboratories, bringing the number of official centres of scientific excellence within the OIE worldwide network to 284.