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To prepare for new health risks good governance is a priority

PARIS, 7 January 2009 – The Director General of the OIE, Dr Bernard Vallat, received the press to present his New Year's greetings. He placed special emphasis on the convergence of new factors increasing human and animal health risks on a worldwide scale : globalisation, climate change, increasing concentrations of animals and humans and the destruction of ecosystems.

All countries must prepare themselves by modifying their governance, for it is all too often obsolete.

"An analysis of the latest epidemiological events clearly demonstrates the need for urgent action on veterinary governance on a worldwide scale, to deal with the new risks arising from human activity, global warming or globalisation," warned Dr Vallat.

An effective response to these new dangers requires States to rapidly implement new concepts:

  • the concept of Global Public Good, which promotes public investment in the field of prevention and surveillance;
  • the concept of good governance, which implies sweeping reforms in terms of the legislation, chain of command and public-private partnerships. For countries that so wish, the OIE carries out independent evaluations of their systems of governance. Worldwide, more than a hundred countries have already applied for this evaluation to prepare for the appropriate national reforms;
  • the concept of "one world – one health", which strengthens cooperation between the Veterinary Services and the Public Health Services.

Food insecurity now adds to the health risks

It has been estimated that animal diseases are responsible for losses of over 20% in the production of milk, eggs or meat around the world.

"Effectively controlling these diseases would make a major contribution to the fight against world hunger and the reduction of poverty" stated Dr Vallat.