The Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission (the Code Commission), which was created in 1960, is responsible for ensuring that the Terrestrial Animal Health Code (the Terrestrial Code ) reflects current scientific information. The Terrestrial Code contains trade standards for terrestrial animals and their products.
The Code Commission, which comprises six elected members experienced in regulatory veterinary science drawn from all OIE regions, meets several times yearly to address its work programme. It works with internationally renowned specialists to prepare draft texts for new articles of the Terrestrial Code and to revise existing articles in light of advances in veterinary science. As well, the Code Commission collaborates closely with the Aquatic Animal Health Standards Commission on issues needing a harmonised approach, and with the Biological Standards Commission and the Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases to ensure the Code Commission is utilising the latest scientific information in its work.
The views of the Delegates of Member Countries are routinely sought through the circulation of draft and revised texts and, at each General Session, the Delegates discuss and formally adopt the draft texts as OIE standards. These texts are then incorporated into the next edition of the Terrestrial Code .
Members of the Commission are elected by the International Committee for a period of three years.
The terms of reference of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission are:
1. To promote the adoption by the International Committee of animal health (including zoonoses), animal welfare and animal production food safety standards, guidelines and recommendations concerning trade or international movement of mammals, birds and bees, and their products. Such standards, guidelines and recommendations are designed to minimise the risks of transmitting diseases (including zoonoses) while avoiding unjustified sanitary barriers.
2. To edit an annual compendium of such standards, guidelines and recommendations (the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code - the Terrestrial Code) in formats and languages as required by the Committee.
3. To advise the Director General on the composition and the activities of the Working Groups on animal welfare and animal production food safety, and to coordinate their work.
4. To develop in collaboration with other OIE Specialist Commissions and with relevant experts:
a) generic chapters in the Terrestrial Code which address general topics such as evaluation of veterinary services, certification, regionalisation, risk analysis methodology, antimicrobial resistance and which are in harmony with similar recommendations in the OIE Aquatic Animal Health Code.
b) disease-specific chapters and appendices in the Terrestrial Code which are maintained current with the latest scientific information, and which provide clear guidance to users on terrestrial animal diseases on the OIE list of notifiable diseases.
5. To identify issues that require in-depth review and propose, to the Director General, the composition and terms of reference of experts or Ad hoc Groups of experts convened specifically to study such issues, and if necessary, to participate in the work of these Groups.
6. To advise the Director General on issues relevant to its work arising or being discussed in other international organisations (such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the International Plant Protection Convention and the WTO) or fora.
7. To represent the OIE at scientific and specialised conferences upon the request of the Director General.
The OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission shall consist of a Bureau (comprised of a President, a Vice-President and a Secretary General) and three other Members.
The Committee selects the Members of the Bureau individually and then the other three members, taking into account the need for a geographically balanced representation, and the need for relevant expertise. The members of the Commission are elected for a period of three years. The mandate of the Commission Members may be renewed. Positions should be filled as they fall vacant before elections as indicated in the first paragraph.
The Commission shall meet at least once during the year to review comments from Members, to revise chapters as appropriate, and to finalise chapters to be presented to the International Committee. At least one of the meetings in the year shall be held in conjunction with the Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases and the Aquatic Animal Health Standards Commission and if necessary with other Specialist Commissions. A special meeting may be organised immediately prior to the General Session.
The Bureau of the Commission shall meet as often as the DG considers necessary, at a venue determined by the Director General, in consultation with the President of the Commission.
Where appropriate, specialists from national/regional/international organisations and from OIE Collaborating Centres and Reference Laboratories, appointed by the Director General, shall attend certain parts of meetings of the Commission or Bureau for particular topics relating to their field of competence.
After each meeting, the Secretary General of the Commission shall provide the Director General with a report on the proceedings of the meeting, a draft of a work programme and the proposed dates for the next meeting.
The Commission shall make available to the Director General, by no later than 1 February each year, all texts which are to be presented for adoption or comments during the following General Session of the Committee. These texts shall be sent by the Central Bureau to Member Countries for examination and comment before the General Session.
The President of the Commission will report annually to the Committee the activities of the Commission and the draft of the relevant resolutions that it wishes the Committee to adopt.
When reporting to the Committee on the activities of the Commission, the President of the Commission shall present, in the form of chapters of the Terrestrial Code, proposed final texts on which Member Countries have been consulted, in accordance with Article 7 above.
All formal correspondence between the Commission and outside individuals or bodies shall be issued through the office of the Director General.
The President of the Commission, in concert with the Bureau, shall periodically consult with Member Countries as to whether or not the contents of the Terrestrial Code are continuing to satisfy their needs as international standards.
The Central Bureau shall assist the Secretary General of the Commission in recording meetings of the Commission and preparing reports, notably by providing secretarial support, word-processing equipment and translation services.
Commission Members shall be veterinarians with a broad knowledge of the major diseases of animals, experience and expertise in the animal health aspects of international trade in animals and animal products, and an understanding and practical experience of the relevant international trading rules.