Closure of the 86th General Session of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)
20–25 May 2018
New OIE International Standards adopted and state of play of their implementation, overview of the global animal health situation and future developments envisaged for the OIE World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS), official disease status recognised, update on the fight against antimicrobial resistance, elections of the Members of the OIE Institutional Bodies. Here is an overview of the Resolutions adopted by the annual World Assembly of OIE Delegates.
Paris, 25 May 2018 – Chaired for the third and last year of his mandate by the President of the OIE, Dr Botlhe Michael Modisane, Delegate of South Africa, the 86th General Session of the World Assembly of OIE Delegates took place this week at the Maison de la Chimie in Paris. Nearly 1,000 participants, representing the Delegates of 181 Member Countries, numerous scientists, and observers from 62 international, intergovernmental, regional and national organisations participated in this event.
The Opening Ceremony was held in the presence of 21 Ministers and government representatives of Member Countries, as well as key institutional stakeholders.
After six days of consultation, 34 Resolutions were adopted by the OIE Delegates including new and amended international standards aimed at protecting and improving animal health and welfare.
In addition, the World Assembly welcomed a 182nd Member Country to join the OIE, Saint Lucia, and proceeded to the election of the Members of four OIE Specialist Commissions, of the Bureaus of the five Regional Commissions, as well as of the Council.
Dr Mark Schipp, OIE Delegate for Australia, has been elected as new OIE President and will immediately start his mandate for a 3-year term.
New and amended international standards
Whether in the fields of terrestrial and aquatic animal disease, prevention and control, animal welfare or diagnostic methods and vaccine quality, the OIE Delegates adopted and revised a number of international standards. A summary and comments on some notable changes are described below:
- 17 chapters of the OIE Terrestrial Code were revised and 9 new chapters added;
- 29 chapters of the OIE Terrestrial Manual were revised
- 16 chapters of the OIE Aquatic Code were revised and 1 new chapter added;
- 6 chapters of the Aquatic Manual were revised.
In addition, the User’s Guide and some Glossary definitions were amended in the two Codes and in the Terrestrial Manual.
Health and welfare of terrestrial animals
Several chapters on various animal diseases were added or revised, as were some of the generic chapters, including those relating to animal welfare.
- The chapter pertaining to zoning and compartmentalisation was comprehensively reviewed and updated to assist Member Countries in applying these concepts – free zone, infected zone, protection zone and containment zone – to better control animal disease and facilitate safe trade.
- A new chapter on vaccination was developed to provide guidance to Member Countries to successfully implement vaccination programmes in support of animal disease control programmes and strategies. Chapters relating to the veterinary vaccine production have also been amended.
- The chapter on glanders underwent a major revision to assist Member Countries to more effectively implement measures for the eradication and control of the disease.
- A new chapter regarding the welfare of animals in production systems was adopted for pigs and completes those already existing for beef and dairy cattle, as well as broiler chicken.
Aquatic animal health
Amendments were made to a number of chapters in the Aquatic Code and Manual. Notably, a new chapter for Infection with Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans was developed following the listing of this amphibian disease in 2017. It provides recommendations to control the pathogenic agent and prevent its spread through international trade in amphibians and their products.
New experts elected to the OIE Specialist Commissions
Before their proposal for adoption by OIE Member Countries, all new and revised standards are carefully addressed and studied by the experts of the four OIE Specialist Commissions (the Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission, Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases, Biological Standards Commission and Aquatic Animal Health Standards Commission), who are elected by the World Assembly of OIE Delegates for a period of three years. The composition of these Commissions will soon be communicated online.
Supporting the implementation of OIE International Standards to promote safe trade in animals and animal products and address specific capacity building needs
The OIE continues working to improve animal health and welfare and facilitate safe trade, notably by encouraging the implementation of its standards by Members. The Technical Item presented this week aimed, through a questionnaire, to identify and analyse factors that limit implementation of the standards and make recommendations on how the OIE could help Member Countries to overcome these difficulties. Key challenges that were reported by a significant number of countries notably included a lack of technical expertise, outdated veterinary legislation and lack of trust and transparency.
The OIE reaffirmed its commitment to continue its role as an advocate for strengthened Veterinary Services and Aquatic Animal Health Services, notably through the deployment of capacity-building activities. In addition, the World Assembly adopted a Resolution mandating the OIE to design an Observatory intended to serve as a tool to monitor and evaluate the implementation of OIE International Standards. By evaluating progress and the constraints faced by Members, this project will contribute to the on-going improvement of the OIE standards-setting process and related capacity building activities.
Global animal health situation
One of the key missions of the OIE is to ensure transparency of the global animal health situation, including zoonoses. The situation of global animal health was presented to the Assembly based on the reports submitted to the OIE by Member Countries between 1 January 2017 and 6 May 2018. The General Session was also an opportunity for Member Countries to discuss their national concerns in this area, as well as current developments in centralising animal health information.
Particular attention was paid to specific diseases subject to global control or eradication efforts, or diseases of major interest, including: the global epizootic of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in birds, peste des petits ruminants (PPR), foot and mouth disease (FMD), bovine tuberculosis, lumpy skin disease (LSD), African swine fever (ASF), the emerging disease caused by Tilapia lake virus.
Officially recognised animal disease status
The World Assembly of OIE Delegates distributed 11 certificates to 10 countries for official disease status recognition. No disease control programmes were endorsed this year.
Six new chapters of the OIE Terrestrial Code pertaining to the relevant diseases were created to better assist Member Countries in compiling their dossiers for the official status recognition of these diseases.
WAHIS renovation project
The development, launch and sustainability of a renovated world animal health information system as well as its continuous use by national Veterinary Services are at the core of the OIE Sixth Strategic Plan 2016-2020. Under the WAHIS+ project, the development of the scaled-up version of WAHIS was initiated in April 2018 with the general conception step of the upgraded platform. The latter will incorporate a transdisciplinary and holistic approach to data collection, analysis and dissemination and will include technological innovations to improve the transparency, quality, and versatility of animal health data available globally in real-time to support policy decision-making.
Moreover, interoperability with other relevant global, regional and national databases will enhance regional programmes and initiatives, such as evaluating the performance of Veterinary Services (PVS Pathway), monitoring antimicrobial resistance (AMR) activities, and disease eradication strategies.
A strong governance has been established to support the strategic development of this project and to ensure involvement of relevant stakeholders, representing each one of the OIE regions and the different end-users.
Global action to alleviate the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
The OIE is actively working on the topic of AMR and on awareness raising on the crucial role of veterinarians in supervising the prudent use of antimicrobials in animals. In this framework, the campaign “WE NEED YOU to handle antibiotics with care” was launched at global level in 2017-2018 with the objective to support the related OIE Global Strategy published in 2016. The latter notably supports the annual collection of data from Member Countries to monitor trends in the use of antimicrobials, as well as the impact of national action plans.
New and revised definitions of ‘veterinary medical use’, ‘non veterinary medical use’ of antimicrobials, as well as ‘growth promotion’ were introduced into the Terrestrial Code section on AMR, in order to clarify the way countries should report on their use of antimicrobial agents in animals and thereby, contribute to the global effort to contain antimicrobial resistance. These definitions emphasize the essential role of the veterinary prescription which should be mandatory for any veterinary use. The necessary engagement towards phasing out the use of growth promoters was highlighted to Member Countries as a common message of the Tripartite Alliance (WHO/FAO/OIE).
To foster the effort made worldwide, the second OIE Global Conference on the topic, to be held in Marrakesh (Morocco) on 29-31 October 2018, will aim for better implementation of OIE International Standards on AMR.
Strengthening the OIE network of scientific expertise
The OIE has access to leading knowledge and skills thanks to its global network of Reference Centres composed of Reference Laboratories and Collaborating Centres. Sharing of information among these various institutes has proved vital to our achievements in animal health and disease control throughout the world. In order to guarantee the excellency of this network, new procedures for the designation of OIE Reference Laboratories were adopted in 2017. A similar document for OIE Collaborating Centres was adopted at this year’s General Session. They identify several performance criteria to be met by these institutions to prove the quality of their management system, notably through ISO accreditation. Not meeting these criteria can result in temporary suspension. This has been the case for some of establishments in 2018, while new institutions have been approved by the Assembly of Delegates, bringing the number of official OIE Centres of scientific excellence to 301, located in nearly 50 countries on five OIE regions.
All the Resolutions adopted by the 86th OIE General Session will soon be available on the OIE website.
Follow the discussions of the 86th OIE General Session on social media : #86SG (Twitter / Facebook).
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