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13th Conference of the OIE Regional Commission for the Middle East

Kaslik (Lebanon), 14 November 2015- The 13th Conference of the World Organisation for Animal Health’s (OIE) Regional Commission for the Middle East, which counts 20 Member Countries, was held in Kaslik (Lebanon), from 10 to 14 November 2015.

The opening ceremony was attended by several local and regional authorities. His Excellency, Eng. Louis Lahoud, Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture of Lebanon, Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE, Dr Kassem Nasser Al-Qahtani, President of the OIE Regional Commission for the Middle East and Delegate of Qatar, and Dr Lara Hanna Wakim, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences of USEK, addressed welcome messages to the audience.
His Excellency, Mr Akef Al Zobi, Minister of Agriculture of Jordan, Her Highness Sharifa Zein Al Sharaf Bint Nasser Ben Jamil, and Reverend Father Hadi Mahfouz, President of USEK, also attended the ceremony.

The event gathered several high level representatives of the OIE Headquarters, the OIE Regional Representation for the Middle East, as well as national Delegates and/or representatives of 17 Member Countries of the OIE Regional Commission for the Middle East, and 1 observer country. Representatives of international and regional organisations involved in animal and veterinary public health activities in the region and numerous observers and experts also participated.

The main agenda items of the conference started with a brief report on the activities of the OIE Regional Commission for the Middle East, followed by a presentation from Dr Bernard Vallat, OIE Director General, regarding the regional perspectives of the OIE Sixth Strategic Plan. Dr Vallat started his presentation providing participants with a brief overview of the main accomplishments of the OIE in the last 15 years, thanks to the OIE Strategic Planning cycles of five-year work programmes.
He highlighted that the OIE was now recognised as the pre-eminent source of standards, guidelines, information and advice on animal health and welfare worldwide.

Participants were also provided with detailed information, analysis, and trends on the terrestrial and aquatic animal disease situation of the region, gathered through the OIE World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS). The following technical items were subsequently discussed: “Control of rabies in the Middle East region, with emphasis on stray dog control” and “The use of non-structural proteins to differentiate between vaccinated and infected animals”.

Several key issues involving the Member Countries of the region, with special emphasis on the following matters were also deliberated:

  • camel disease control in the Middle East, including an update on MERS-CoV situation;
  • the OIE/FAO global strategy for the control and eradication of PPR ;
  • recent developments on guidelines on international movements of High Health High Performance (HHP) horses;
  • the implementation by the OIE of the "One health" approach and the implementation of national seminars gathering public and animal health policy makers;
  • the outcomes of the PVS (Performance of Veterinary Services) Pathway in the Region;
  • veterinary education and the implementation of related OIE Guidelines and recommendations;

The discussions were fruitful and the recommendations adopted during the Conference will be submitted to the OIE World Assembly and its 180 national Delegates, in May 2016, for endorsement.

The Conference was kindly hosted by the Government of Lebanon. It received the support of the OIE Headquarters and of the OIE Regional Representation for the Middle East.