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Dr. Alex Thiermann President, Terrestrial Animal Health Code Commission World Organisation for Animal Health. The role of the OIE in a safe and fair trade. WTO Public Forum 2006 Geneva, CH, September 2006. an intergovernmental organisation founded in 1924 by 28 countries

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Dr. Alex Thiermann

President, Terrestrial Animal Health Code Commission

World Organisation for Animal Health

The role of the OIE

in a safe and fair trade

WTO Public Forum 2006

Geneva, CH, September 2006


an intergovernmental organisation

  • founded in 1924 by28 countries
  • predates the U.N.

World Organisation for Animal Health

Organisation mondiale de la santé animale

Organizacion Mundial de Sanidad Animal

Common name adopted by the International Committee on May 2003


167 Member Countries(May 2006)

Americas: 29 – Africa: 50 – Europe: 49 – Middle East: 13 – Asia: 26

why an sps agreement
Why an SPS Agreement?
  • Removal of non-tariff barriers to trade
  • GATT article XX(b)
    • need for clearer rules
  • Concentrate on health measures
    • Provide rights and obligations

Standard-setting organisations

food safety


animal healthOIE

plant healthIPPC

Codex = Joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission

OIE = World Organisation for Animal Health

IPPC = International Plant Protection Convention (FAO)

oie objectives
OIE Objectives
  • To ensure accurate collection and transparency in reporting the animal health situation throughout the world.
  • Under the WTO-SPS Agreement mandate, establish standards on animal health and zoonoses for international trade in animals and animal products.
  • To collect, analyse and disseminate scientific veterinary information.
  • To provide technical expertise and encourage international solidarity in the control and eradication of animal diseases.
  • To improve the competencies and legal framework of Veterinary Services.
  • To develop guiding principles and specific recommendations for animal welfare





development and updatinginternational standards


Advice of experts or other Specialist Commissions

Draft text







direct costs of participation
Direct costs of participation
  • delegates from 145/167 OIE Member Countries attended 2006 General Session
    • registration fees waived and daily expenses paid
  • experts participating in OIE Specialist Commissions, working groups and expert groups have their fares and expenses paid
  • EC has made available 100,000 Euros to assist participation of experts from developing countries in standards development
terrestrial animal health code
Terrestrial Animal Health Code
  • Provides detailed recommendations of sanitary measures to be used by Chief Veterinary Officers of Member Countries in establishing regulations applying to the safe trade of animals and animal products, while avoiding unjustified restrictions
  • Contains recommendations covering ruminants, swine, equidae, rabbits, bees, poultry, dogs and cats
  • In five languages: English, French, Spanish and Russian (Arabic version recently released)
evolution of oie standards
Evolution of OIE standards
  • Need to go from freedom status to risk-based
  • Emphasis on safety of the commodity
  • Essential role of epidemiological surveillance
  • Strength of laboratory network
  • Close link of surveillance to risk assessment
  • Maximize stakeholder participation
zoning and compartmentalization
Zoning and Compartmentalization
  • Regionalization: geographical ‘zoning’
  • Compartmentalization: ‘zoning’ on the basis of biosecurity in animal production systems
  • Role of wildlife in zoning and regionalization
  • Role of private and public sector


























influences on standards
Influences on standards
  • pressure from exporting countries for less restrictions
  • pressure from importing countries for maximum protection
  • consumer and NGO reactions
  • pressure from developing countries for assistance in participating in the process
importance of adherence to oie standards
Importance of adherence to OIE standards
  • Safe trade, based on scientific risk analysis
  • Commodity specific risk mitigation measures
  • Provides credibility to the Veterinary Services
  • Consistency of message to consumers
  • Demonstrate ability to detect emerging diseases
international standards conclusions
International standards, conclusions
  • National authorities and their stakeholders must become more involved in the OIE standard setting process
  • Authorities must implement the adopted OIE standards in their national regulations
  • Often national industry interests and short sighted politics interfere in the implementation of science based regulations
  • Global organizations and corporations can play a key role in the implementation of standards at national levels, as well as in the harmonization of animal health and safety of food rules
animal welfare current reality
Animal Welfare, current reality
  • Globalization is becoming a force that is revolutionizing international trade
  • The WTO recognizes the OIE as the standard-setting organization for animal health
  • There is an important link between animal health and animal welfare
  • However, there is no specific mention of animal welfare in the WTO agreements
animal welfare guidelines
Animal Welfare guidelines
  • Current guidelines:
    • Sea transport
    • Land transport
    • Slaughter
    • Killing for disease control
  • On-going work:
    • Fish transport and slaughter
    • Urban dog control
    • Laboratory animals
animal welfare predictions
Animal Welfare predictions!
  • Animal welfare will increase in importance as a consumer demand and therefore international trade
  • Acceptance and enforcement of animal welfare guidelines in international trade will be slow
  • Animal welfare guidelines will be slowly incorporated through positive labeling
  • The welfare in traditional farming can easily become a competitive advantage to developing countries
emerging zoonosis
Emerging Zoonosis

An emerging zoonosis is a zoonosis that is newly recognized or newly evolved, or that has occurred previously but shows an increase in incidence or expansion in a geographic, host, or vector range.

Some of these diseases may further evolve and become effectively and essentially transmissible from human to human.


Emerging Infectious





“Spill over” &

“Spill back”

Human encroachment

Ex situ contact

Ecological manipulation

Wildlife EID


Animal EID

Human EID

Global travel






Technology and


Dasazak P.

Science 2000 287:443

specific challenges for emerging and re emerging zoonoses
Specific Challenges forEmerging and Re-Emerging Zoonoses
  • Improving the global capacity for response
  • Improving early warning and surveillance systems using innovative technologies
  • Improving disease reporting
  • Improving diagnostics
  • The era of emerging zoonoses will continue and expand.
  • The factors and driving forces producing this era show no sign of abatement.
  • Local emerging diseases quickly become global.
  • The significance and implications of emerging zoonoses are rapidly increasing in scope, scale, and importance.
  • The convergence of human and animal health offers both important challenges and opportunities.
strengthening veterinary services
Strengthening veterinary services
  • OIE considers Veterinary Services to be a Global Public Good
  • their coming into line with international standards is a public investment priority
    • structure, organisation, resources, capacities, role of the private sector and para-professionals
  • 2001 World Bank/OIE MOU supports this view
  • global programme in capacity building and technical assistance for developing countries
  • strategic aim is to assist countries to enhance their expertise and capacity to analyse and implement international SPS standards
    • improving their human, animal and plant health situations
    • improving ability to gain and maintain markets
  • direct response to the demand to tailor technical assistance to countries’ needs
    • not to merely provide 'generic' assistance
  • 3 OIE STDF projects to date
    • Train the trainers
    • Tool for evaluation of veterinary services
    • Strengthening veterinary services in Africa (ALive)
train the trainers
Train the trainers
  • to train a cadre of professionals capable of providing continuing training to private and public sectors
    • adapted to the conditions, cultures and languages of each region
    • for enhanced implementation of the SPS Agreement
train the trainers27
Train the trainers
  • training covers:
    • SPS Agreement including dispute settlement mechanisms, and the roles of the 3 sisters
    • OIE standards, and its standard setting and implementation process
    • OIE animal health information system
    • animal production food safety and collaboration with Codex
    • animal health risk analysis with practical examples tailored to the region
    • evaluation of veterinary services
train the trainers28
Train the trainers
  • training will be adapted to animal health issues of greatest interest in each region
  • initially, workshops will be attached to ‘traditional’ WTO SPS workshops
  • aim to attract and prepare experts who are assigned at the national level to promote activities within OIE’s mandate
  • pilot workshops have developed training DVD to be used as base material (Bamako, Bangkok, Cairo, Vienna, Colombia)
strengthening vet services in africa
Strengthening Vet Services in Africa
  • ALive (African Livestock), a World Bank initiative focused on livestock in Africa, aims to map existing programs and fill gaps between them, and initiate others
    • focused on poverty reduction, economic growth, research, regional and international market access, and sustainable institutions including Veterinary Services
  • reinforces OIE’s involvement in promoting animal health, both for poverty alleviation and for the safe conduct of international trade in animals and animal products
strengthening vet services in africa30
Strengthening Vet Services in Africa
  • the livestock sector in developing countries requires greater financial and operational challenges than other agricultural sectors
  • developed countries have a strong incentive to help control developing countries’ livestock diseases because of the likelihood of these diseases spreading internationally
  • OIE is examining the use of ALive in all Regions facing similar concerns
building a scientific community through twinning arrangements
Building a scientific community through twinning arrangements
  • several twinning arrangements are in place between OIE reference laboratories
  • role of the OIE as coordinator/catalyst in these arrangements
    • selection of priorities
    • selection of relevant laboratories
    • mediator/facilitator in discussions
    • evaluation of outputs
  • use of funds
    • exchange of scientists
    • organisation of workshops
regional representations
  • strengthening the OIE Regional Representations
    • implementation of capacity building programmes tailored to each Region
    • direct input into OIE Headquarters’ activities
  • focuse on assisting new OIE Delegates

World organisation for animal health

Organisation mondiale de la santé animale

Organizacion Mundial de Sanidad Animal

12 rue de Prony

75017 Paris, France

Tel: + 33 (0)1 44 15 18 88 – Fax: + 33 (0)1 42 67 09 87