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73rd Annual General Session of the International Committee of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) 22 - 27 May 2005

Approximately 700 participants representing the Member Countries, intergovernmental organisations (FAO, WHO, World Bank, WTO etc.) and many non-governmental organisations took part in the event. The Session was honoured by the presence, alongside the President and the Director General, of high level political Authorities and numerous Ministers of Agriculture of OIE Member Countries.

The main points dealt with during the Session were as follows:

Election of the Director General:

Dr Bernard Vallat was re-elected Director General of the OIE by Member Countries. He was given a new mandate for five years.

Within the framework of its usual standard-setting work, the Committee adopted or updated international standards aimed at providing better safeguards for the sanitary safety of world trade in terrestrial and aquatic animals and their products

Standards on animal welfare were adopted, (i.e. slaughter for human consumption, land and sea transport of animals, and humane killing of animals for disease control purposes). For the first time, an organisation with a global mandate provides the international community with standards in this field;

Special attention was given to updating the chapter on BSE in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code. New scientific knowledge has been incorporated leading to a new classification of the categories of BSE status of Member Countries and to a new list of several animal products without risks for consumers;

Also, a new chapter on avian influenza in the Terrestrial nimal Health Code, was adopted, so as to improve transparency and control methods of the disease, protection of human health and provide greater protection for countries importing poultry and poultry products while eliminating unjustified barriers to trade.

The worldwide zoosanitary situation has been examined in detail;

The OIE IVth Strategic Plan (for the period of 2005-2010) was adopted.. It goes over again the three priorities of the IIIrd Strategic Plan, consolidating them:

  • - Transparency of the global animal disease situation
  • - Permanent elaboration of sanitary standards
  • - Prevention, control and eradication of animal diseases and zoonoses worldwide

The plan also includes two further priorities:

  • - Development and influence of the OIE in the field of the design and implementation of animal health related policies, as well as of veterinary research and sanitary governance;
  • - Reinforcement of capacity building, notably of the veterinary services in developing countries to allow them to better participate in the global fight against diseases;

Two technical items were debated during the Session and gave rise to Resolutions passed by the International Committee:

  • - Applications of genetic engineering for livestock and biotechnology products
  • - Implementation of OIE standards in the framework of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement

The high level of scientific expertise of the speakers and the quality of the debates that followed the presentation of each technical item will have served to promote the global application of concepts that are essential for improved control of animal diseases and zoonoses.