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International veterinary research and the control of animal diseases to reduce poverty and protect consumers

Combating animal diseases is crucial to the economic growth of developing countries. A good animal health management policy is likely to generate significant resources for low-income countries by reducing the direct losses associated with animal diseases and allowing them to develop exports of animals and products, something that is impossible as long as such diseases are present in a country.

Indeed, countries without the means to combat animal diseases remain excluded from international trade. In some cases, a country's lack of resources for eradicating animal diseases represents not only a danger to its international trade partners but also, in many cases, a potential danger to consumers the world over.

The OIE, FAO, WHO and the World Bank, together with other donors (including the USA, France and the European Union), backed by international experts on animal diseases and agricultural research (in particular the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research [CGIAR/GCIRA]), met at OIE headquarters in Paris, from 26 to 28 March 2002, to discuss these issues.

In their bid to reach a common position on the requirements and detailed arrangements for allocating international aid, the experts focused their attention on strategic research fields for which more public and private resources should be earmarked, in particular the priority list of animal diseases to be combated.

As an international animal health organisation heavily involved in controlling and eradicating animal diseases world-wide, the OIE emphasised its technical and unifying role in the debate. In this capacity, the OIE promised to continue to support, develop and implement future decisions and action programmes with the backing and assistance of all those involved in the seminar.