World Organisation for Animal Health

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Home > Standard Setting > Overview > Introduction to Specialist Commissions

Specialist Commissions

The role of the OIE's Specialist Commissions is to use current scientific information to study problems of epidemiology and the prevention and control of animal diseases, to develop and revise OIE's international standards and to address scientific and technical issues raised by Members.

The OIE is continuing to improve the transparency of its standard development process, in order to have the best scientific basis for its standards and to gain their widest possible support. All reports from OIE Specialist Commissions are published on the OIE public website and incorporate as appendices the accepted reports from relevant OIE working groups and ad hoc groups. The OIE does not solicit comments on these reports other than from Delegates, but will not refuse comments from organisations with an interest in the OIE's work, as they often represent a very useful source of information.

OIE International Standards: How are they developed?

The Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission ("Code Commission")

Code Commission & Reports

Founded in 1960, the Code Commission is responsible for ensuring that the recommendations of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code (the Terrestrial Code) reflect current scientific information on the protection of international trade and surveillance methods for animal diseases and zoonoses. It works with internationally renowned specialists to prepare draft texts for new articles for the Terrestrial Code and to revise existing articles in light of advances in veterinary science. As well, the Code Commission collaborates closely with the Aquatic Animal Health Standards Commission on issues needing a harmonised approach, and with the Biological Standards Commission and the Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases to ensure the Code Commission is utilising the latest scientific information in its work.

The views of the Delegates of Member Countries are routinely sought through the circulation of draft and revised texts and, at each General Session, the Delegates discuss and formally adopt the draft texts as OIE standards. These texts are then incorporated into the next edition of the Terrestrial Code.

Members of the Commission are elected by the International Committee for a period of three years.

The Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases ("Scientific Commission")

Scientific Commission & Reports

Founded in 1946, this Commission assists in identifying the most appropriate strategies and measures for disease prevention and control.. It also examines Member Country submissions regarding their animal health status for those countries that wish to be included on the OIE list of countries 'free' of certain diseases (see OIE 'Disease-free' status and 'Disease-free' recognition procedures). The Commission is elected by the International Committee for a three year term.

The Biological Standards Commission ("Laboratories Commission")

Laboratories Commission & Reports

Founded in 1949, this Commission is responsible for establishing or approving methods for diagnosing diseases of mammals, birds and bees and for recommending the most effective biological products such as vaccines. It oversees the production of the Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals (the" Manual"), recognised as an international standard text by the SPS Agreement of the WTO. The Commission also selects OIE Reference Laboratories for disease of terrestrial animals, and promotes the preparation and distribution of standard reagents for diagnostic testing. The Commission is elected by the International Committee for a three year term.

Aquatic Animal Health Standards Commission (Aquatic Animals Commission)

Aquatic Animal Commission & Reports

Founded in 1960, this Commission compiles information on diseases of fish, molluscs and crustaceans and on methods used to control these diseases. The Commission produces the Aquatic Animal Health Code (the "Aquatic Code") and the Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Aquatic Animals (the "Aquatic Manual"). The Commission also organises scientific meetings on diverse topics of importance to aquaculture. The Commission is elected by the International Committee for a three year term.