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OIE Regional Seminar on Communication Buenos Aires , Argentina November 14-15 2007

Buenos Aires, November 19 2007 - Improvement of national Veterinary Services (VS) capacity in communication strategies based on transparent and accurate scientific information were among key issues addressed at the OIE Regional Seminar on Communication organised and hosted by the OIE Regional Representation for the Americas in Buenos Aires , Argentina on November 14-15.

“Authorities of national veterinary Services have to take into account the strategic importance of developing sound, long-term communication policies,” Dr Bernard Vallat OIE Director General said at the seminar, “communication strategies come upstream of other more operational information and educative activities,” he insisted.

The 70 participants included Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) of Member Countries, their communication staff, editors of national newspapers and communication specialists of private sector stakeholders and of other international organisations. CVOs of some non-OIE Member Countries of the region were also part of the event.

Comprehensive communication

Appropriate global, regional and national veterinary governance must encompass communication strategies and resources directed to the general public and to other more specific target populations.

Recommendations for future action were endorsed by all involved; in particular authorities of national VS are the prime impetus behind the development of communication activities in their services. Veterinary Services should develop long-term communication plans taking into account the principles of transparency, clear language, sound scientific information, rapidity and proactieveness in peace time as well as in times of crisis.

The OIE will provide technical support to Member Countries worldwide into developing communication strategies.

The organisation will do so in part by creating an expert group to define communication strategies in animal health policies directed to the general public, with the purpose to integrate a new chapter on communication into the OIE Code.

The OIE plans to conduct Regional Seminars on Communication with the other OIE Regional Representations in Africa , Asia and the Middle East . A first seminar was conducted with the OIE Regional Representation for Eastern Europe in Teramo , Italy in December 2006.