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Capacity building activities of the OIE Regional Commission for Europe are well underway

The OIE Regional Representation for Eastern Europe pursues its capacity building mission within the “Dialogue and common activities between OIE Member Countries of the EU (European Union) and the other OIE Member Countries of the Regional Commission for Europe” with the conclusion of two information seminars on animal health and veterinary services held in the Republic of Croatia and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina from June 27 th to June 30 th .

This capacity building programme aims at reaching out to the highest policy-making spheres for improving national veterinary services and animal disease prevention control. These seminars are therefore designed to directly involve national veterinary services, stakeholders and government officials in their works.

Organised in cooperation with the European Commission (EC) and EC -TAIEX (the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument of the Institution Building unit of Directorate-General Enlargement of the European Commission) the two seminars were of particular importance considering the recent H5N1 Avian influenza outbreaks in the region.

They mainly looked into informing on mandates and standard setting activities by giving an overview of EC directives and legislation and OIE and European Union standard guidelines and regulations on animal health and animal welfare ( Terrestrial Animal Health Code and Aquatic Animal Health Code ).

Special attention was paid to the OIE Fourth Strategic Plan for 2006-2010, the new World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS) and to the relevant ways of collaboration between the OIE and the EU and EC within the OIE Regional Commission for Europe .

The commitment and the efforts of several representatives from the EC, the OIE headquarters and OIE collaborating Centre of Lyon greatly contributed to the constructive discussions and conclusions. The need for a common OIE/EC strategy in Europe in the field of veterinary qualification, implementation of OIE standards and legislation throughout Europe was unanimously supported.

In Croatia, the 110 participants counted in addition to national representatives of the Veterinary Services: stakeholders, veterinary pharmaceuticals companies, representatives of veterinary associations and organisation and members of the Government, notably Mr. Petar Cobankovic, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management. Similarly, the event gathered 81 participants in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the auspices of Mr. Dragan Doko, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations and Mr. Barisha Colak, Minister of Security.

The capacity building programme destined to OIE Member Countries of Europe is part of the organisation's IVth Strategic Plan approved in May 2005 and is planned for completion in 2008. So far it was applied to 8 countries while three more are scheduled during the last quarter of 2006 in Georgia , Armenia and Azerbaijan from October 2 nd to October 7 th .