OIE GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON WILDLIFE “Animal Health and Biodiversity – Preparing for the future”

A holistic approach to understand the complex interplay between animal health, public health and the environment while ensuring the protection of world biodiversity

Paris, 24 February 2011 – Gathered at the three-day OIE and partners Global Conference on Wildlife in Paris, France, high-profile world experts in animal health, public health and wildlife examined the growing threats that bring emerging and re-emerging pathogens of wild and domestic animal origin to proliferate.

“Knowing that over 60% of pathogens are of animal origin, 70% of which come from wildlife and that 75% of infectious emerging animal diseases can be transmitted to humans, an understanding of the complex interplay between wild and domestic animals, humans and environmental ecosystems calls for a global and holistic approach, which the Conference fully achieved,” OIE Director General Dr. Bernard Vallat said.

The analysis of the interactions between the health of wildlife, domestic animals and people and their relations with the environment identified different causes: changes in land use including, expansion into new geographic areas and the intensification of production to meet increasing needs for food, including animal proteins. These changes have altered the equilibrium between domestic animals and wildlife and the interactions have changed both in frequency and in nature.

“The need to feed a growing human population, the globalized movement of people and goods combined with man’s impact on his environment, including on biodiversity, fuel serious health risks for both domesticated and wild animals, with an impact on the health of humans and on sustaining biodiversity”, commented Dr Bernard Vallat.


Veterinary Services and partners have a pivotal role

Participants recommended an enhanced cross-sector communication and cooperation among all parties involved including the tourism industry and relevant NGOs such as foundations, naturalists, hunters and fishermen associations and many others, to ensure coordinated risk management approaches at the wildlife / domestic animal / human ecosystems interface.

More specifically, it was agreed to reinforce animal health systems worldwide through the OIE PVS Pathway, which includes an evaluation of the compliance of public and private components of national Veterinary Services with international standards of quality as well as Gap Analysis, at the request of countries.

“The global trade in wildlife provides disease transmission mechanisms that not only cause human disease outbreaks but also threaten livestock production, safety of international trade, rural livelihoods, native wildlife populations, and the health of ecosystems. It is of utmost importance that countries do have sound veterinary services and partners in place capable of carrying out early detection, prevention and surveillance of these diseases”, said Dr William Karesh, President of the OIE Working Group on Wildlife Diseases.

The 400 participants from over 100 countries in this unique international forum came from a variety of sectors, which included official national and international authorities, representatives of international, regional, national and non-governmental organisations as well as of the private sector.

The Conference was organised from 23 to 25 of February 2011 by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the EcoHealth Alliance, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

View the webcasting of the Conference