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Opening of the 84th OIE General Session

Delegates from the 180 Member Countries of the OIE are meeting in Paris for six days of discussion and debate at the 84th General Session of the OIE World Assembly of National Delegates, to adopt new international standards and guidelines for animal health and welfare.

© OIE / I.Zezima

Paris, 22 May 2016 – Chaired for the first time by Dr Botlhe Michael Modisane, President of the OIE, the Opening Ceremony of the World Assembly of OIE Delegates began with an opening address this afternoon at the Maison de la Chimie Conference Centre (Paris). This was followed by eight speeches from Ministers and government representatives from OIE Member Countries. The President of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), Dr Evelyn Nguleka, and the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis, also addressed the Assembly.

The Opening Ceremony brought together nearly 800 participants from OIE Member Countries, representatives of the government authorities of these countries, and numerous representatives of national, regional, international and intergovernmental organisations.
The ceremony was accentuated with performances of the lion dance, whose colours shone through the afternoon. 

The work of the General Session will continue over the next five days and conclude on Friday, 27 May, with the adoption of the Resolutions voted on in plenary session by the entire Assembly of Delegates from 180 Member Countries.

This annual meeting represents the opportunity to adopt new intergovernmental standards for animal health and welfare, as well as to take stock of the current global landscape of animal diseases, including zoonoses. It will also provide a forum for debate on the most recent developments in strategies for the prevention, control and eradication of diseases such as rabies and peste des petits ruminants.

However, 2016 also marks a turning point in the work of the OIE, with the implementation of its Sixth Strategic Plan. In line with the developments envisaged in this plan, a number of cross-cutting issues will be featured during the two technical sessions, namely:  

  • The economics of animal health, a presentation by Prof. Jonathan Rushton, from the Royal Veterinary College of London, studying the direct and indirect costs of animal disease outbreaks in OIE Member Countries;
  • Antimicrobial resistance, a presentation by Dr Jean-Pierre Orand, Director of the French Agency for Veterinary Medicinal Products, which will enable Member Countries to endorse the fundamental principles of the OIE strategy against antimicrobial resistance.

Honours and awards

At the Opening Ceremony, the OIE presented its awards for services to the veterinary community and to the OIE. The Gold Medal was awarded to Dr Alejandro Thiermann (Chile – United States of America), while three medals of distinction were presented to Prof. Donald Lightner (United States of America), Prof. Martin Wierup (Sweden), and Dr Oldřich Matouch (Czech Republic).

The  winning country of the World Veterinary Day Award 2016 was also announced. This year, it went to Jamaica, which presented the best contribution to the theme of Continuing Education with a One Health focus.

Finally, the 8 prize-winners in the OIE worldwide photo competition, “Animal welfare – beyond the cliché”, were also announced for their respective regions:

  • Africa: Dr Christo Labuschagne (South Africa)
  • The Americas: Mr Miguel Villatoro (Mexico) / Veterinary student award: Ms Ginger Hobgood (United States of America)
  • Asia and Oceania: Dr Ulaankhuu Ankhanbaatar (Mongolia) / Veterinary student award: Ms Chayada Piantham (Thailand)
  • Europe: Dr Jorge Bacelar (Portugal) / Veterinary student award: Ms Filipa Trigo da Roza (Portugal)
  • The Middle East: Dr Mozafar Sarmasti (Iran)

Their photos will be published on the OIE website shortly.

Follow the General Session through the entire week: #OIE84SG

Further press information:



Tuesday 24 May, 1.15pm to 2.30pm

In the presence of:

  • Dr Botlhe Michael Modisane, President of the OIE
  • Dr Monique Éloit, Director General of the OIE
  • Dr Brian Evans, Deputy Director General of the OIE
  •  Prof. Jonathan Rushton and Dr Jean-Pierre Orand, rapporteurs of the technical items addressed during the General Session


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