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Guidance for the Management of OIE Collaborating Centre Networks


The global network of OIE Reference Centres is the central core of the OIE’s scientific excellence. The First International Conference of OIE Reference Laboratories and Collaborating Centres (held in Florianopolis, Brazil, in 2006) recommended that a network of OIE Reference Laboratories and Collaborating Centres be developed with the objective of harmonising and exchanging data, information and reference material to improve disease surveillance and control worldwide.

The Second Global Conference of OIE Reference Laboratories and Collaborating Centres (held in Paris in June 2010) encouraged the networks of OIE Reference Laboratories and Collaborating Centres to continue working together to strengthen multilateral cooperation, in particular with the aim of producing and increasing availability of validated biological reference materials. In order to strengthen this collaboration, the OIE Reference Laboratories and Collaborating Centres should continue to exchange knowledge, reference materials and expertise to the benefit of OIE Member Countries.

The Terms of Reference (ToR) adopted in May 2011 explicitly require OIE Collaborating Centres to establish and maintain a network with other OIE Collaborating Centres designated for the same specialty, and should the need arise, with Collaborating Centres in other disciplines. More details on the ToR of OIE Collaborating Centres are available at the following link.

The OIE has identified the need for further guidance on the coordination of the OIE Reference Centre networks. The objective is to assure unified expert opinions and advice to OIE Member Countries through the enhanced exchange of information.

The network of OIE Collaborating Centres shall provide scientific expertise and support to the OIE and its Members, and promote international collaboration on animal health and welfare. Networking will improve the credibility and increase the visibility of OIE Collaborating Centres worldwide, and will attract the participation of other national centres from OIE Member Countries.

On a case-by-case basis, the OIE Headquarters could invite the existing Collaborating Centres to meet (physically or by telephone conference) to help to create a network, to appoint the secretariat, and to follow this guidance.


  • Networking among OIE Collaborating Centres is part of their ToR. When two or more OIE Collaborating Centres are designated for the speciality (within a focus area), a network must be established. Participation in the network is compulsory for OIE Collaborating Centres.
  • Within the network, only OIE Collaborating Centres are accountable to the OIE. However it is a requirement of OIE Collaborating centres that they collaborate with other centres, laboratories and organisations, as appropriate. Hence other centres might participate in the network.
  • The network should have a clear work plan and the secretariat (officially notified to the OIE) in one of the participating OIE Collaborating Centres to serve as a liaison with the OIE Headquarters. It is recommended that the secretariat is responsible for coordination, leadership and accountability of the network. The secretariat may rotate among participating centres (e.g. every 3 years). It is the responsibility of the Secretariat of the network to manage conflicts of interests and confidentiality undertakings if they are deemed required by the network and OIE is not involved in this process.
  • Each network secretariat should provide the OIE Director General with an annual report of its activities, achievements, obstacles, future initiatives (individual centres can make reference to the network report in its annual OIE Collaborating Centres report).
  • When meetings are organised by the network, participation of OIE staff as observers should be allowed, and the secretariat should produce a meeting report that should be shared with the OIE Headquarters.
  • If a discrepancy or disagreement arises that cannot be resolved within the network, the secretariat should inform the OIE Headquarters without delay. The OIE Headquarters will inform the Biological Standards Commission thereof accordingly.
  • Conditions for inclusion of a network website link on the Website of the OIE:

    • The network may establish a website to disseminate information on its activities. The network should formally request the Director General of the OIE that a link to its website be added to the OIE website.
    • The website of the network must comply with OIE rules for graphic layout and other applicable OIE policies.
    • Any major changes to the website of the network should be notified to the OIE in advance.
  • The OIE Headquarters reserves the right to recommend any changes to the content of the web site of the network, as deemed appropriate, and to remove the link of the web site of the network at any time while providing the reasons to the secretariat of the network.
  • The reports and activities of the network reflects the views of the network members and may not necessarily reflect the views of the OIE.

OIE contact point for networks
Sara Linnane
Science Department
World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)
12, rue de Prony
75017 Paris, France
E-mail: [email protected]