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OIE and China agree on increased cooperation on animal disease prevention and control

Paris, 3 March 2008 – At a national seminar on international animal health standards, organised by the Chinese government in conjunction with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and held in Beijing, People's Republic of China, on 26 and 27 February 2008 , the Director General of the OIE, Dr Bernard Vallat, noted China's strong willingness to strengthen its international cooperation on the prevention and control of animal diseases, thus complying with OIE standards.

“As an OIE Member Country, China now has the opportunity to play an ever-increasing role in the fight against animal diseases worldwide”, said Dr Vallat. “Political commitment will be the key to achieving the work that still has to be done and the OIE will strongly support these efforts”, he added.

The seminar gathered some 150 participants, including the OIE Delegate, Dr Jia Youling, and the Chinese Vice-Minister for Agriculture, Mr Yin, who reiterated the country's commitment to collaborate with all OIE Members in the field of animal health. Representatives of the Veterinary Services of each of China 's provinces and representatives of key national veterinary institutions for research and diagnostics also attended the seminar.

At a time when emerging and re-emerging diseases are increasing worldwide, seminar participants pointed out that strengthening the Veterinary Services in terms of surveillance, early detection and rapid response is a key factor in effective disease control. Chinese authorities recognised the important role of the Veterinary Services and gave a commitment to improve the quality and governance of their national Veterinary Services, in compliance with OIE standards.

“I am particularly pleased to note that China is considering requesting the OIE to conduct a technical mission in support of the governance of its national Veterinary Services. I have assured the Chinese authorities that the OIE is fully committed to developing collaboration with them”, said Dr Vallat on the sidelines of the seminar.

Accompanied by the President of the OIE, Dr Barry O'Neill, the President of the OIE Regional Commission for Asia, the Far East and Oceania, Dr Gardner Murray, and the OIE Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, Dr Teruhide Fujita, Dr Vallat was received by the Chinese Minister of Agriculture, Mr Sun Zhencai, and then by the Vice Prime Minister, Mr Hui Liangyu. Chinese authorities reiterated their commitment to strengthen collaboration with the OIE in all fields relating to the prevention and control of animal diseases and zoonoses and to the safety of international trade of animals and animal products. Discussions also addressed the creation of an OIE sub-regional office in China .

A new reference laboratory for avian influenza 

The seminar also tackled the issue of avian influenza and its current spread around the globe. It was emphasised that appropriate diagnostic capabilities are part of a well functioning prevention and control strategy. As a result, Chinese authorities submitted an application for their National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory (NAIRL) to be recognised as a new OIE Reference Laboratory for avian influenza.

“This application is another very important step forward in the OIE's relations with China . The National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory (NAIRL) is in charge of avian influenza diagnosis for the whole of mainland China and its activities could also be useful for neighbouring countries. The application will now have to undergo a number of internal OIE procedures before being proposed for adoption by all of the OIE's 172 Member Countries and Territories”, Dr Vallat commented.

The OIE's standard setting process was also addressed during the workshop. The Chinese authorities expressed their political will to respect OIE international standards and to comply with and implement them.

March 2008