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The OIE’s founding mandate has evolved and has been adapted to Members’ needs, it now includes the following specific missions:
The OIE has recently decided to help OIE Members to better implement the international standards which they have adopted, through support programmes financed by funds other than membership contributions. These additional voluntary contributions are received and managed within the framework of the OIE World Animal Health and Welfare Fund.
In order to meet the overarching objective and priority of the OIE ‘to improve animal health and welfare worldwide regardless of the cultural practices or the economic situations in member countries’, the OIE has developed the following cornerstone support activities for its Members:
The PVS Pathway corresponds to a global programme for the sustainable development of a country’s veterinary services. This global programme encompasses a PVS Evaluation (qualitative diagnosis on compliance with quality standards, providing baseline information), a PVS Gap Analysis including Veterinary Services Strategic Priorities, and specific capacity building activities, projects and programs. The possible topics for action comprise veterinary legislation, public/private partnerships, veterinary education, laboratories (mainly in the form of OIE Twinning Projects), followed by regular PVS Pathway follow-up missions to monitor progress made.
Regional capacity building programmes for OIE Members’ Veterinary Services are established annually. Such programmes aim to strengthen animal disease surveillance and control, early outbreak detection and rapid response at both a regional and national level. This also facilitates networking between Country Delegates to the OIE and OIE National Focal Points.
OIE Regional Representations and Sub-Regional Representations organizes on average between two and four regional seminars per region and per year to maintain continuing information and education, and capacity building of Country Delegates to the OIE and OIE National Focal Points in the country (contact persons for relations with the OIE) specialised in the different relevant technical fields.
The following key issues are addressed through these regional seminars: the rights and obligations of the National Delegates to the OIE, the structure and quality of National Veterinary Services, the implementation of animal health standards; sanitary information systems; animal production food safety; veterinary medicinal and biological products; aquatic animal diseases; animal welfare; wildlife, veterinary service communication and laboratories.
The OIE laboratory twinning initiative launched in 2006 has since become one of OIE’s flagship capacity building programmes with over thirty projects now underway on five continents. Laboratory twinning projects essentially involve creating and supporting scientific expertise in developing countries, as well as a link that facilitates the exchange of knowledge, ideas and experience between two parties. It has been adopted by the OIE as a method for improving laboratory capacity and expertise in developing and in-transition countries. The OIE laboratory twinning programme creates opportunities for developing and in-transition countries to develop scientifically competent laboratory diagnostic methods, to progress towards meeting the international standards of the OIE, and in certain cases to become an OIE reference laboratory.
As a follow-up activity to the Global Conference on Veterinary Education, the OIE is currently working on a basic reference curriculum for veterinarians. The OIE also intends to engage progressively in twinning projects on veterinary education between national veterinary universities or schools.
In 2006, the OIE set up a Regional Vaccine Bank for avian influenza vaccines in Africa funded under the EU Pan African Programme for the Control of Epizootics (PACE). In 2007, this was broadened to a global vaccine bank for avian influenza vaccines thanks to the financial support received from Canada (CIDA).
The EU funded Regional Cooperation Programme on Highly Pathogenic Emerging and Re-emerging animal diseases (HPED) in Asia will see the expansion - in Asia - of this vaccine bank to other diseases other than avian influenza, such as: foot and mouth disease, rabies and possibly other pathogenic emerging and re-emerging transboundary diseases.
Support to OIE Members is also achieved through the commissioning and publication of global studies which, to date, have focused on the following key topics: ‘Prevention and Control of Animal Diseases Worldwide’, the ‘Cost of National Prevention Systems for Animal Diseases and Zoonoses in Developing and Transition Countries’ and ‘Listing and Categorisation of Priority Animal Diseases, including those Transmissible to Humans’.
In many developing and in transition countries, veterinary legislation is inadequate to address the challenges of today and of the future. In order to support OIE Members, the OIE has developed guidelines on all the essential elements to be covered in veterinary legislation. Any OIE Member which has participated in an OIE PVS Evaluation may request a follow-up mission which focuses on providing advice and assistance to modernise the national veterinary legislation. The OIE Guidelines on Veterinary Legislation will be used to update the national legislation where gaps are identified during the course of an OIE PVS Evaluation mission.