Paris, France

The 80th OIE General Session : election of a new Bureau...


The 80th OIE World Assembly of Delegates was held in Paris between the 20th and the 25th May 2012. During the meeting, new scientific and management bodies of the OIE were renewed and new international standards were adopted. The standards are of great importance for the improvement of animal health and welfare in Africa. The reader is invited to visit the OIE website to access the final report and the latest version of codes and manuals.

In the opening ceremony, held on Sunday May 20th, the OIE Director General and the President of the World Assembly of OIE Delegates welcomed Mory Kanté, the renowned vocalist and kora player from Guinea. The African mood which was soon brought into the assembly was followed by some speeches by African line-Ministers, H.E. Mr. General Mamadou Korka Diallo, Guinea ; H.E. Dr. Mohamed Abdi Kuti, Kenya ; H.E. Mrs Ihanta Randriamandrato, Madagascar ; H.E. Mahaman El-Hadj Ousmane, Niger; H.E. Dr Faisal Hassan Ibrahim, Sudan and H.E. Mr. Benedict Ole Nangoro, Tanzania.

Some of the African Ministers made speeches, while others were received by the Director-general of the OIE. Moreover, several African Ministers had working sessions with the many technical and financial partners, present at the 80th General Session. It is also important to highlight the presence of the Delegation of Liberia, a country applying for accession with OIE, and the audience granted by the OIE Director-General to this delegation, as well as the side meeting with Dr Karen Sliter of USDA/APHIS (Regional Manager for Europe, Africa, Middle East and Central Asia, appointed to the European Union).
In the margin of the General Session’s formal programme, many bilateral meetings took place between the OIE Headquarters and the Regional Representation, on the one hand, and AU-IBAR, the FAO Representations for Africa and for the Middle East, the ECOWAS Delegation, and Delegates of African Members (in particular Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger and Togo), on the other hand.

During the OIE Regional Commission for Africa meeting on Monday May 21st, chaired by Dr Marosi Molomo, Delegate of Lesotho, acting President of the Commission, the Commission’s progress report of activities was presented, followed by the report by Dr. Yacouba Samaké the OIE Regional Representative, Africa. The Regional Commission for Africa, after some lengthy discussions, finally elected a new bureau and proposed the following candidates for the elections of the Council and the specialist Commissions.

The following persons were elected to the Bureau of the Regional Commission for Africa :

  • President : Dre Marosi Molomo (Lesotho)
  • 1st Vice-President : Dr. Adam Hassan Yacoub (Chad)
  • 2nd Vice-President : Dr. Theogen Rutagwenda (Rwanda)
  • Secretary General : Dr. Ahmed Chawky Karim Boughalem (Algeria)

For the OIE Council :

  • Vice-President : Dr Jaouad Berrada (Morocco)
  • Member : Dr Botlhe Michael Modisane (South Africa)

and for the specialist Commissions :

  • Code Commission : Dr Stuart Hargreaves (Zimbabwe)
  • Scientific Commission : Dr. Gideon Bruckner (South Africa)
  • Laboratories Commission : Dr. Emmanuel Couacy (Côte d’Ivoire)
  • Aquatic Commission : Dr. Eli Katunguka-Rwakishaya (Uganda)


Unfortunately the application of Dr. Hargreaves was not considered eligible because of his prolonged absence from meetings of the Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission due to health reasons. The Regional Commission was requested to suggest another candidate. It was suggested that should the health of Dr. Hargreaves improve, he would be invited to attend the meetings of the Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission as an observer. As a result Dr Salah Hammami (Tunisia) was presented as an alternative candidate.

On Friday, May 25, the World Assembly of Delegates elected Dr Karin Schwabenbauer, Delegate of Germany, as new President of the OIE World Assembly of Delegates (2012 – 2015). Dr Swabenbauer is the first ever female President of the OIE World Assembly, marking a new milestone in the Organisation’s history. The African candidates for the various positions were all elected, except for Dr Katunguka-Rwakishaya (Uganda) for the Aquatic Animal Health Standards Commission and Dr Emmanuel Couacy-Hymann (Côte d’Ivoire) for the Biological Standards Commission.
Since the next President of the World Assembly of Delegates in 2015 will have to come from Africa. It is perceived that Dr. Jaouad Berrada will be the next OIE President.

During the consecutive sessions of the World Assembly of Delegates, the following amendments of the Aquatic Code were discussed and approved :

  • The definition of live feed intended for aquaculture was integrated in the overall definition of feed intended for aquatic animals. The proposed definition of “aquatic animal health professional” could not be adopted because it was opposed by many countries, for various reasons. The proposal to delist epizootic ulcerative syndrome (EUS) was not accepted by the Commission and the disease is therefore maintained in the Code.
  • Other diseases were renamed, such as the infection due to abalone herpes virus (instead of pseudo-herpes) and the infection due to ostreid herpesvirus (but without the specific mention of “OsHV-1 and OsHV – µvar”, proposed by the Aquatic Commission).
  • A new chapter (3.2) on communication, similar to that of the Terrestrial Code, was introduced, along with two chapters on the “monitoring of the quantities and usage patterns of antimicrobial agents used in aquatic animals” and “development and harmonization of national antimicrobial resistance surveillance and monitoring programmes for aquatic animals”.
  • A chapter (7.4) on the “killing of farmed fish for disease control purposes” was also introduced, while a chapter (6.1.) : “control of hazards in aquatic animal feeds” was presented for consideration, but not (yet) for adoption. Likewise some changes to the Code and Manual on salmon infectious anemia, to do with the differentiation between high and low pathogenic variants were presented for consideration only.

OIE certificates of official recognition of national foot-and-mouth disease control programmes were handed out for the first time since the adoption of the relevant texts in 2011, to Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. No other (African) countries could improve their status with respect to FMD, BSE (all the African countries remain at the “unspecified risk” level) or with respect to CBPP .

Following the approval in 2010, the introduction of a first equine disease, African horse sickness to the list of diseases with official recognition, the 2012 World Assembly adopted an amendment of Chapter 1.6 on the procedure of self-declaration by a Member, which henceforth includes African horse sickness and lists the conditions for official recognition by the OIE of a country free from African horse sickness (questionnaire).

African horse sickness may soon be followed by a second equine disease, glanders, and by classical swine fever, as recommended by the Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases.

The activities of the Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases included – amongst others – the continuation of work on honey bee diseases, PPR and Foot-and-Mouth Disease. The FAO – OIE Global FMD Conference will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, in June 2012.

Several changes to the Terrestrial Animal Health Code were discussed and approved. The main improvements are related to the adoption of one resolution (22) and three texts on animal welfare : a first generic chapter with recommendations relating to animal welfare (7.1) and in particular the general principles of welfare in animal production systems (7.1.4), as well as a new chapter on “animal welfare and beef cattle production systems”. This chapter covers intensive, extensive and semi-intensive production systems; and covers 22 pages of international standards e.g. nutrition, lighting, air quality, management issues such as weaning, castration, dehorning, tail docking, identification, etc…). Lastly, the section on the transport of animals intended for research and teaching (article 7.8.10.) was also revised.

Following the development of guidelines on veterinary legislation in 2008, a new chapter (chapter 3.4.) on “veterinary legislation” was introduced and approved.

No disease was delisted from Code, but following the new definitions of infestation, the names of the following bee-diseases were harmonised:

  • Tropilaelaps of honeybees
  • Small hive beetle (Aethina tumida)

The “Official health control of bee diseases” chapter saw some reviews e.g. taking into consideration regions.

With regard to food safety, two chapters went through considerable reviews : chapter 6.7 on “harmonisation of national antimicrobial resistance surveillance and monitoring programmes” and chapter 6.8 on the “monitoring of the quantities and usage patterns of antimicrobial agents used in food producing animals ”.

As for disease-specific chapters, some examples :

  • Infection by the Aujeszky disease virus (8.2) : amendment of the definition of captive wild boar by adding “living under direct monitoring of man” and the introduction of vaccination according to the DIVA principle in disease free countries.
  • Infection by the Rabies virus (8.10) : several amendments put emphasis on the public health interest of rabies and the deletion of the concept of “country free of rabies transmission between dogs”. The proposed chapter had already been submitted in 2011 but due to too many comments from the Assembly the chapter had been returned to the Code Commission for resubmission in 2012.
  • Infection by the African Horse Sickness virus (12.1) : provides for a better case definition and integrates a new text with regard to the official recognition of disease freedom by OIE.

The Botswana National Veterinary Laboratory (BNVL) was accredited as a new OIE Reference Laboratory for contagious bovine pleuro-pneumonia (CBPP) with Dr. Chandapiwa Marobela-Raborokgwe as the designated expert. This laboratory had previously twinned with the IZS of Teramo in Italy. For the first time, this recognition was presented as a specific resolution (resolution 20). Overall, 16 new Reference Laboratories were accredited, whereas 4 Laboratories have requested to be delisted.

A new Collaborating Centre was established as the result of the merger of two existing Collaborating Centers on wildlife in Canada and the United States : the Collaborating Centre for research, diagnosis and surveillance of pathogenic agents in wildlife, with as members the US Department of Agriculture, the US Geological Survey, the US National Wildlife Health Centers and the existing Canadian Collaborative Wildlife Health Center (CCWHC).

The diagnostic test, M. bovis antibody test kit, marketed by IDEXX Laboratories, was certified and recorded by the OIE (resolution 24) as appropriate to the objectives of the manuals or as “fit for purpose”. This test is for the detection of antibodies against Mycobacterium bovis in the serum of cattle and to be used as a supplementary test, in conjunction with other methods, for the diagnosis and the management of tuberculosis. This will be used, along with the implementation of sero-surveys to understand prevalence and risk at a herd management level.

Lastly, among the many resolutions adopted by the Assembly, two in particular are important for Africa: resolution 27 on “the One Health approach to address health risks at the animal – human – ecosystem interface” ; and resolution 32 on “good governance and veterinary education”, that recommends the approval of a core/ basic veterinary curriculum to assure the “Day One” competencies for the delivery of high-quality national veterinary services worldwide.



More information (previous General Session) :

Paris, France

The 79th OIE General Session : the OIE 5th Strategic Plan in Africa is endorsed

May 31, 2011
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