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THE OFFICE INTERNATIONAL DES EPIZOOTIES OPENS A REGIONAL REPRESENTATION IN THE AMERICAS

On 11 February 1998, a Regional Representation of the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) was officially opened in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in the presence of high-ranking officials from the Argentine Government led by Mr Felipe Solá, Secretary of State for Agriculture.

  • The ceremony was attended by Doctor Norman Willis, President of the OIE International Committee; Doctor Jean Blancou, Director General of the OIE; and official delegations from Argentina (led by Doctor Luis Barcos), Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the United States of America, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay; as well as representations from international organisations in the Americas.

  • The ceremony was preceded by an audience with the President of the Argentine Republic, Mr Carlos Saúl Menem, who declared that he was very impressed by the progress achieved by the Veterinary Services in harmonising animal disease surveillance and control world wide.

  • Doctor Willis declared that the opening of the OIE Representation in the Americas would mark an important turning point in the history of the Office, which today played a unique and unprecedented role in improving animal health world wide, due to a decision-making strategy based solely on scientific principles and on broad international consensus.

  • The main objective of the Regional Representation, the management of which has been entrusted to Professor Emilio Gimeno, will be to contribute to improving animal disease surveillance in the region, to harmonising animal disease control and to training for national veterinary managers in the field of analysing animal health risks.

  • The activities of the Regional Representation will be conducted under the control of the OIE International Committee, in close consultation with the other international organisations working in the region (FAO1, IICA2, OIRSA3, PAHO4). The programme of activities for the forthcoming three years has been adopted in agreement with the OIE Member Countries of the Americas. It will be financed by the OIE with an important contribution from the Argentine Government (SENASA5, INTA6). One of its primary aims will be to step up the battle against foot and mouth disease, a disease from which the OIE has already officially declared several countries of the Americas to be free.

OIE, the World organisation for animal health, was created in 1924 and has its headquarters in Paris. It brings together 149 countries whose Delegates form an 'International Committee' and supports four Specialist Commissions and five Regional Commissions. Its purpose is to inform and advise the Veterinary Services of its Member Countries on the best ways to contribute to the eradication of the most dangerous diseases for animals or humans, and to determine the health standards for international trade.

Paris, 17 February 1998

(1) FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
(2) IICA: Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture
(3) OIRSA: Regional International Organization for Plant Protection and Animal Health
(4) PAHO: Pan-American Health Organization
(5) SENASA: National Animal Health Service
(6) INTA: Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology

Contact : Maria Zampaglione

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