FAO, OIE and WHO unite to tackle new animal-human health challenges

OIE Opening Ceremony 2014
Pictured left to right are: FAO director-general Jose Graziano da Silva, president of the World Assembly of Delegates, Dr Karin Schwabenbauer, WHO director-general Dr Margaret Chan and OIE director-general Bernard Vallat. The ceremony welcomed over 800 participants, representing OIE member countries as well as numerous international, intergovernmental, regional and national organisations.

Three major intergovernmental organisations have joined forces to prevent and control diseases at the human-animal interface.

Convinced of the ever-increasing need for intersectorial collaboration to tackle the new challenges linked to the control of diseases at the animal-human interface on a global scale, the directors-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), spoke at the opening of the 82nd General Session of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) being held this week in Paris.

“The WHO strongly supports the strengthening of cooperation between Public Health Services and Veterinary Services,” said Dr Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO. “In order to prevent and control diseases at the human-animal interface, as well as to contain the threat of anti-microbial resistance, multisectoral coordination is crucial, not only at the global level, but also at the regional and national levels. To this end, WHO and OIE have been working closely together with the support of the World Bank, and in the framework of FAO/WHO/OIE tripartite collaboration.”

“FAO and OIE have had a proud history of collaborating on a wide range of issues, perhaps the most notable of which was the successful global eradication of rinderpest. Today, FAO and OIE are restating this spirit of cooperation and their intentions to continue the fight to keep both animals and humans healthy,” announced José Graziano da Silva, FAO director-general.

Delegates at the OIE General Session are discussing and adopting new international standards and guidelines on terrestrial and aquatic animal disease prevention and control, animal welfare, as well as diagnostic methods and vaccine quality.

Two technical items of general interest, one on African swine fever and the other on official animal disease programmes, will be presented by international experts.

The Assembly is examining the worldwide animal health situation, giving special attention to the latest sanitary episodes of importance: the porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED) in USA, Japan and China, the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Brazil, influenza H7N9 and H5N8 in Asia, rabies in wildlife in Chinese Taipei and African Swine Fever (ASF) in Eastern Europe. Delegates will hear the latest available information notified by OIE countries regarded these diseases and discuss measures to prevent any wider spread of these viruses in animals. An expert group in PED will gather in a technical meeting to analyse the risks regarding pigs and pork products importation.

Member Countries are also discussing and proposing a resolution for global control and eradication of peste des petits ruminants (PPR), a devastating disease of sheep and goats.

Celebrating 90

The OIE is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year and celebrated at a cocktail party after the Opening Ceremony. Since its establishment in 1924, the organisation has worked to tackle successive challenges in animal health, thanks to its expertise, transparency, standard-settings and solidarity. See www.90.oie.int.

AVMA wins World Vet Day prize

The World Veterinary Day Prize 2014, on the theme of animal welfare, was presented to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) for outstanding services to the veterinary community and the OIE.


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