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21st Conference of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa

Rabat (Morocco, 16-20 February 2015)

20 February 2015 – The 21st Conference of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Regional Commission for Africa was held in Rabat (Morocco) from 16 to 20 February 2015. The Conference was chaired by Dr  Abderrahman El Abrak, OIE Delegate of Morocco.

Dr Karin Schwabenbauer, President of the World Assembly of Delegates of the OIE, Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE, as well as national Delegates of Member Countries of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa and numerous senior officials and the representatives of international and regional organisations participated in the Conference.

Mr Ahmed Bentouhami, Director of the Moroccan National Office for Food Safety (ONSSA) and Dr Awilo Ochieng Pernet, President of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, also honoured the Conference with their presence.

During the Conference, Dr Vallat declared that “the African continent is of considerable importance to the OIE, both for the epidemiological issues that are of interest to the whole world and for aspects relating to Veterinary Services’ support programmes, in which Governments and development partners should be persuaded to invest in view of the ever growing sanitary risks.”

Two particularly important Technical Items were presented during the Conference namely:

  • Impact of animal diseases on animal productivity and public health in Africa.
  • Cross-border movements of animals and animal products and their relevance to the epidemiology of animal diseases in Africa.

Discussions also covered the animal health situation in the whole region and the investments required to enable Member Countries in the region to progress with controlling animal diseases. The tsetse-transmitted trypanosomosis issue and the responsible and prudent use of antimicrobials were discussed.

Various other key issues for Member Countries of the region were also dealt with:

  • The “One Health” concept: the OIE approach and collaboration with the FAO and the WHO, including on dog rabies control;
  • Lessons learned from Regional Animal Welfare Strategies (RAWS) elaborated in other regions; and
  • The OIE Sixth Strategic Plan (2016-2020) and its regional perspectives for Africa.

The Regional Conference was preceded by a one-day Seminar for African national Delegates to the OIE regarding the development of public-private partnerships to support

Veterinary Services co-funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. During the Seminar, the discussions concerned OIE intergovernmental standards relating to the quality and responsibilities of the Veterinary Services. The OIE tool for evaluating the quality of Veterinary Services, the OIE PVS Pathway as a whole, as well as other actions undertaken to ensure compliance with international standards were detailed and explained to the participants. The necessary strengthening of partnerships between the official Veterinary Services and private veterinarians, and the indispensable collaboration between the Veterinary Services, livestock producers and community animal health workers (CAHWs) were also emphasised.

The Government of Morocco, notably represented by the national Veterinary Services, generously hosted the Conference, with the support of staff from the OIE Headquarters and the OIE Regional and Sub-Regional Representations for Africa. The event was very well attended and the debates were of a very high standard. The recommendations adopted in Rabat will be presented to the next World Assembly of Delegates of the 180 OIE Member Countries for endorsement and then for implementation at regional and global level.