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New capacity building activities of the OIE Regional Commission for Europe

Within the current programme of the OIE Regional Representation for Eastern Europe in 2005, three seminars using a new designed approach were organized, respectively in Bulgaria (28-29 September 2005), in Romania (7-8 November 2005) and in Turkey (21-22 November 2005) in the framework of the “Dialogue and common activities between OIE Member Countries of the EU (European Union) and the other OIE Member Countries of the OIE Regional Commission for Europe”, which includes 50 Member Countries.

These seminars came as a result of the implementation of the capacity building activities of the OIE Regional Representation which included also other “classical” regional seminars in 2005. Considering the current situation of Avian influenza spreads occurred in some countries in the Region, these new national seminars were of particular importance.

They were organised in cooperation with the European Commission (EC) and EC -TAIEX (the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument of the Institution Building unit of Directorate-General Enlargement of the European Commission), with a strong involvement of the Parliaments and the Governmental authorities of each of the first three countries hosting these new categories of Seminars.

For example, in Bulgaria , the seminar was held under the auspices of the President of the country. Several representatives of the national veterinary services, veterinary faculties, research institutes as well as representatives of the private sector (in particular from the meat and milk processing industry, poultry and pig breeding sector, fish industry) took part at the event.

The objective of the new seminars was mainly to inform participants on the current OIE Strategic Plan and mandates and standard setting activities ( Terrestrial Animal Health Code and Aquatic Animal Health Code ). An overview was also given on the EC directives and legislation, and on regulations within the OIE and the EU with regard to animal health and animal welfare.

In Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey the Seminars also high lightened the efforts to be carried out by the Parliaments and the Governments of the countries in strengthening the structure of national veterinary services for effective control of acute animal infectious diseases, including zoonoses, as well as in the field of food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection. Special attention was paid to the OIE Fourth Strategic Plan for 2006-2010, the new World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS) and to the relevant ways of collaboration between the OIE and the EU and EC within the OIE Regional Commission for Europe .

The commitment and the efforts of several representatives both from the EC and the OIE headquarters contributed to a great extent to the constructive discussions and conclusions. The need for a common OIE/EC strategy in Europe in the field of veterinary qualification, implementation of OIE standards and legislation throughout Europe was unanimously supported. An OIE/EC/TAIEX meeting was called upon for the adoption and the approval of the organisation and financing of all the Seminars to be held in other European non-EU Member countries since 2005 until 2008.

Therefore, the regional capacity building programme managed by the OIE Regional Representation for Europe will include both regional and national seminars and workshops.