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The unique OIE global network of expertise ready to face the future challenges of animal health and welfare

3rd Global Conference of the 296 OIE Reference Centres
Incheon (Seoul), Korea (Rep. of)

16 October 2014 - The third Global Conference of Reference Centres of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) was held in Incheon (Seoul), Korea (Rep. of) from 14 to 16 October 2014. More than 200 international experts of the OIE scientific network of expertise, representing the 296 OIE Reference Centres from all around the world, reaffirmed their commitment to constantly disseminate new relevant scientific information to the OIE, and support the scientific accuracy and robustness of OIE publications through contributions or peer reviews.

“The need for scientific expertise and advice is constantly increasing and so is the reliance to our network of excellence unique in the world”, highlights Dr. Bernard Vallat, OIE Director General.

In addition to further fostering the networking of the OIE reference centers, the Conference also focused on new tools for the advancement and exchange of knowledge necessary  strengthen diagnostic capacities worldwide and continuously  improve the response  to current and future sanitary threats. In this context, the conference launched a new strategy on a global pathogen genotype platform as well as a new mechanism for the timely diffusion of new disease detection and control methods to the OIE’s 180 Member Countries.

The OIE global network of expertise, which has grown considerably stronger over the years, supports - on a voluntary and free of charge basis - the development and the excellence of animal health sciences, animal welfare standards and veterinary public health services. It ensures the scientific foundation of the standards and guidelines adopted by  OIE Member Countries and recognised as intergovernmental references for disease control methods and animal welfare throughout the world.

To date, this OIE global network includes 247 Reference Laboratories* covering 117 diseases in 38 countries and 49 Collaborating Centres** covering 46 topics in 26 countries. These institutes are selected by the relevant elected Specialist Commissions of the OIE according to their scientific excellence and then proposed for adoption by the World Assembly of OIE Delegates.

“Strengthening national veterinary laboratory capacities, and thereby reinforcing the veterinary scientific community is key to face the challenges of the future,” outlines Dr Vallat. “That’s why since 2006, the OIE has developed a laboratory twinning programme between existing OIE Reference Laboratories or Collaborating Centres and candidate laboratories. This program allows more member countries to provide reference centers to the OIE network and to develop more appropriate laboratory diagnostic methods worldwide”.

The OIE also supports national veterinary laboratories through the PVS pathway component dedicated to national laboratories and through a capacity building global programme for OIE national Focal Points for laboratories.

The OIE is grateful for the valuable collaboration and financial support of Korean Authorities and all donors, supporters and partners. The OIE also thanks all the speakers and participants who contributed to make the event a success.

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OIE Reference Centres include:
*OIE Reference Laboratories function as world reference centres of expertise on designated pathogens or diseases
**OIE Collaborating Centres function as world centres of expertise (e.g. veterinary training, epidemiology, veterinary medicines, food safety, animal welfare, etc), standardisation of techniques and dissemination of knowledge on a specialty