Paris, France

The 85th OIE General Session : its relevance for Africa… Bees, BSE and animal welfare


About 850 participants, representing 140 national Delegations from among the 180 Member Countries of the OIE (of which 40 were from Africa) and from some 40 international, intergovernmental, regional and national organisations participated in the event. The opening ceremony was held in the presence of several ministers and members of government of OIE Member Countries, as well as the President of the OIE, Dr Botlhe Michael Modisane, and the Director General of the OIE, Dr Monique Eloit.

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The Delegation from the Republic of Senegal: Dr. Pape Fall (Prime Minister’s Office), H.E. Aminata Mbengue Ndiaye, Minister of Animal Husbandry and Animal Productions and Dr Mbargou Lô, Director of Veterinary Services and OIE Delegate.





Opening ceremony

Numerous distinguished guests delivered speeches at the opening ceremony and – among them – there were ministers and high representatives from Africa such as H.E. Mrs Josefa Sacko, the new Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission, H.E. Mrs Luisa Celma Meque, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Food Security of Mozambique, H.E. Mrs Aminata Mbengue Ndiaye, Minister of Livestock and Animal Productions of Senegal, H.E. Mrs. Valma Vall Mint Soueina, Minister of Animal Husbandry of Mauritania and Mr Andrew K. Tuimur (Principal Secretary for Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of Kenya).

The President of the OIE, Dr Botlhe Michael Modisane presented OIE Honorary Awards to members of the veterinary community for outstanding services to veterinary science and to the OIE. The recipient of the OIE Meriterious award (medal) is Dr. Walter Masiga who, in his acceptance speech stated that he would “… forever remember with fondness all those colleagues that have crossed (his) path professionally, and amicably, during all these years”. Dr. Masiga retired from the OIE in December 2016 as Sub-Regional Representative for Eastern Africa, a position he had held since 2010.

Technical items

Technical Item I : Global action to alleviate the threat of antimicrobial resistance: progress and opportunities for future activities under the ‘One Health’ initiative

The rapporteur for this technical item, Ms Khadija Id Sidi Yahia of the Moroccan National Food Safety Agency (ONSSA), made the presentation. The report presented an accurate descriptive analysis by region based on the answers received from OIE Members to a questionnaire that had been submitted to them as well as several recommendations aiming – among others – at continuing to support the actions within the framework of the WHO Global Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) endorsed in May 2016.

The Africa region fully supported the recommendations especially those referring to encourage and reinforce the inter-sectoral collaboration and that related to the national legislation that should require veterinary prescription before delivery the antibiotics. An OIE Resolution outlining the recommendations was presented and adopted by the World Assembly of Delegates of OIE on 25 May 2016.

Technical Item II : Public-Private Partnerships: expectations of private sector partners for international animal health and livestock development programmes

85 GS Berhe Tekola Mesrak Mekonnen

OIE Delegate and State Minister of Veterinary Services and Feed Control, of the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries of Ethiopia, Dr. Mesrak Mokonnen Yetneberk (left) and the current Director of the FAO Division of Animal Health and Production (AGA) and former OIE Delegate of Ethiopia, Dr. Berhe Gebreegziabher Tekola (right)


The topic, presented by Dr Samuel Thevasagayam (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) focussed on the benefits of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), based on several successful examples of PPPs in Africa and Asia. Given the scarcity of resources and capacities within the public or private sectors of Veterinary Services, Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) offer tangible and timely support to address this complex environment and fulfil today’s societal demands.

Poultry production in Ethiopia was used as a case study; through a partnership between the Government of Ethiopia, EthioChicken (a private entity) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, benefits of such PPP were highlighted, e.g. the Government hatchery that once produced 40,000 day-old-chicks per year is today producing over 100,000 day-old-chicks per week.

The African countries, in their comments, supported the PPPs initiatives in ensuring the sustainability of Veterinary Services and underlined the importance of facilitating PPPs with enabling legislation and good veterinary governance. A Resolution in this respect – by outlining several recommendations – was adopted by the World Assembly of Delegates.

OIE Regional Commission for Africa Meeting

A total of 113 persons participated in the meeting of the Regional Commission for Africa on 22 May (Monday) representing countries (36 out of the 54 Member Countries), regional and international organizations (AVA, AVEA, AVSF, CIRAD, AU-IBAR, AU-PANVAC, AU-PATTEC, ECCAS, FAO, IGAD, the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), WAEMU (UEMOA) and the World Bank).

The report of the President of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa was presented by Dr. Komla Daniel Batawui, Delegate of Togo and President of the Regional Commission. Dr Moetapele Letshwenyo, OIE Sub-Regional Representative for Southern Africa, on behalf of all OIE Representatives in the region, provided participants with further details on the OIE Regional Roadmap and its development, and the challenges that the region faces. Dr Samuel Wakhusama, OIE Sub-Regional Representative for Eastern Africa, gave an update on the implementation of the “Strengthening Veterinary Services in Developing Countries + Rabies Control” (SVSDC + R) project.

“The PVS Pathway as an advocacy tool for increased investment in Veterinary Services in Africa” was selected as a technical item (with questionnaire) for the 23rd Conference of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa.

“Adoption of the ‘One Health’ approach as an unavoidable path for the prevention and control of emerging and re-emerging diseases” was proposed for inclusion in the agenda of the 87th General Session (with questionnaire to Members).

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Dr. Nick Nwankpa, Director of the African Union Pan-African Veterinary Vaccine Centre (AU-PANVAC) in Ethiopia, an OIE Collaborating Centre and FAO/OIE Rinderpest Holding Facility.


With regard to vacant positions, and following a discussion between the Delegates, Dr Kamal Tag El-Sir El Sheikh, Delegate of Sudan, was unanimously nominated as a Member of the Council of the OIE. As for the Regional Commission, Dr. Djamila Hadj Amar, Delegate of Algeria, was putt forward as Vice-President and Dr. Mahamat Guindé, Delegate of Chad, as Secretary-General. These positions were endorsed by the World Assembly during its Friday morning administrative session.

Other topics were discussed as well, such as an update on the organisation of the 23rd Conference of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa, to be held in Yaounde, Cameroon in February 2019.

Recognition of Official Disease Status

Through sustained commitments, several countries improved or gained official disease status recognitions or endorsement of official control programmes. The OIE World Assembly issued certificates to the African countries of :


  • Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) : Zone of Botswana (Zone 3b) as free from FMD without vaccination;
  • Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) : country free from PPR;

 South Africa:

  • Country free from Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP).

A major breakthrough from the perspective of African countries is the appeal made by the President of the Scientific Committee for Animal Diseases, Dr. Gideon Brückner, to start a reflection on the way forward for the official status regarding Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), in a context of dwindling number of cases (apart from the atypical cases, not covered by the status). Short of outright delisting the disease (as proposed by some Member Countries) the official status procedure could be withdrawn, to be replaced by the usual self-declaration procedure. Several Member Countries have urged the relevant OIE Specialist Commissions to start revising the Code chapter on BSE. To be continued….

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The OIE Director General, Dr Monique Eloit (left) with the new OIE Delegate for Angola, Dr Bernadette Santana (centre) and the OIE President and Delegate of South Africa, Dr Botlhe Michael Modisane.


Approval of new Animal Health and Welfare Standards

New international standards and guidelines were presented – by the relevant Specialist Commissions – during the General Session.

A number of new and revised texts for the Aquatic Code and Aquatic Manual were adopted during the 85th General Session. These included the addition of a new listed amphibian disease, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans; and the introduction of a new chapter on acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND, crustaceans) in both the Aquatic Code and the Aquatic Manual.

In addition, information was provided on an emerging disease, Tilapia Lake Virus, which has been considered for listing by the OIE, but did not meet the criteria as yet, primarily due to diagnostic issues. Countries are nonetheless encouraged to report Tilapia Lake Virus as an emerging (non-listed) disease. A technical fact sheet is now available.

The World Assembly of Delegates adopted five new standards in the fields of terrestrial animal diseases prevention and control:

  • A new chapter on criteria applied by the OIE for assessing the safety of commodities (Chapter 2.X.) was developed to provide clear guidance to OIE experts to assist them in assessing the safety of commodities and ensure consistency in the development of a list of ‘safe commodities’ for which specific measures are not required, regardless of the status of the exporting country or zone for the disease;


  • Two new chapters on prevention and control of Salmonella in bovines and in pigs (Chapters 6.X. and 6.Y.) were developed to align the Terrestrial Code with the recent Codex work on Salmonella spp. in bovines and pigs. These chapters are intended to provide guidance for the prevention and control of Salmonella and are not intended to be used as conditions for trade as Salmonella spp. is not an OIE Listed disease or infection. These 2 chapters complement the existing chapter (6.5.) on Prevention, detection and control of Salmonella in poultry;


  • A new chapter on infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (Chapter 8.X.) was developed by merging of two existing chapters on tuberculosis (Chapter 11.5. on bovine tuberculosis and Chapter 11.6. on bovine tuberculosis of farmed cervidae) into a single multispecies chapter including M. tuberculosis to manage the human and animal health risks associated with the disease. The chapter now covers bovines, (farmed) cervidae, goats, llamas and alpacas. The fact that M. tuberculosis is not an OIE listed disease/infection was raised as a concern and will be addressed;


  • A new chapter on infection with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus (Chapter 15.X.) was developed to provide recommendations on managing the risk of international transmission of this disease. The chapter was adopted but four countries objected to the inclusion of pig meat as a commodity requiring merely proper ante- and post-mortem inspection. The risk of transmission through muscle tissue is currently being regarded as insignificant and this view was shared by most of the attending member countries. The disease was listed by the OIE in 2006 and work started on producing a corresponding chapter in the Terrestrial Code and the Terrestrial Manual. By 2008 there was a chapter on PRRS in the Manual, but there isn’t one in the Code as of now. An ad hoc group on the development of a Code chapter on PRRS was only convened in 2013, after an expert consultation concluded that there was now sufficient scientific information around to prepare recommendations on how to deal with PRRS in the framework of international trade .

The OIE Delegates also adopted 12 revised texts in the fields of terrestrial animal disease prevention and control. Particularly, the chapter related to lumpy skin disease (Chapter 11.11.) was comprehensively revised to reflect the current disease outbreak situations and provide the appropriate risk management options. A major review was also made for the chapter on African swine fever virus (Chapter 15.1.). Some provisions of the proposed revised text were vehemently objected to by some countries, in particular on the possibility to continue trade of commodities derived from domestic or captive wild pigs, whilst reporting ASF in wild and feral pig population. The text was eventually adopted with two countries voting against, whilst promising to revise the provisions as new scientific information becomes available.

The OIE also pays a continuous attention to animal welfare improvement. The standards adopted in 2015 on animal welfare and dairy cattle production systems (Chapter 7.11.) and in 2016 on welfare of working equids (Chapter 7.12.) were revised. New work is currently in progress on standards for pig production systems and the slaughter and killing of farmed reptiles for skins and meat.

Follow up to the recommendations of the main OIE conferences


  • With regard to the 4th OIE Global Conference on Animal Welfare, held in Guadalajara (Mexico), from 6 – 8 December 2016, OIE Members adopted the first Global Animal Welfare Strategy. The draft had already been endorsed at Guadalajara conference and aims to achieve “A world where the welfare of animals is respected, promoted and advanced, in ways that complement the pursuit of animal health, human well-being, socio-economic development and environmental sustainability.”

85 GS Gideon Bruckner

President of the OIE Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases, Dr. Gideon Brückner (South Africa).

Approval of the composition of the OIE working groups

Two resolutions were submitted to, and approved by, the World Assembly, discontinuing the mandate of two out of the three (statutory and permanent) Working Groups, the one on Animal Production Food Safety and the one on Animal Welfare. These Groups will therefore disappear, having successfully attained their objectives.

The abolishment of the Animal Welfare Working Groups also fits with the implementation of the Global Animal Welfare Strategy, which foresees the establishment of an OIE Global Animal Welfare Forum. The only remaining Working Group with a work plan for 2017 – 2018 is therefore the one for Wildlife.

Approval of new OIE Reference Laboratories and Collaborating Centres

  • Of major interest for Africa is the recognition of the Nairobi, Kenya-based International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) as OIE Collaborating Centre for Bee Health in Africa. With the simultaneous recognition by the OIE of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut in Germany as Reference Laboratories for American foulbrood of honey bees (infection of honey bees with Paenibacillus larvae), for Small hive beetle infestation (Aethina tumida) and for Varroosis of honey bees (infestation of honey bees with Varroa spp.), the OIE is taking a big leap forward in providing specialist services in the field of apiculture to its member countries.


  • In addition, the existing OIE Collaborating Centre at the Dakar-based Inter-State School of Veterinary Science and Medicine (EISMV) changed its denomination to OIE Collaborating Centre for Training of official veterinarians, diagnosis of infectious animal diseases and zoonoses, and control of veterinary drugs in West and Central Africa, thus integrating the (former) OIE Reference Laboratory for the Control of veterinary products in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Administrative decisions

In terms of governance of the Organisation, the Delegates voted, by comfortable majority vote, for a considerable increase in the OIE budget, which will have to be financed by a corresponding increase in statutory contributions to the Organisation from 2018 onwards.

The Delegates also approved the accession of the OIE Territory of Curacao, semi-autonomous territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in the Caribbean, as the 181st Member.

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Keynote speaker for the Technical Item n° 1 (with questionnaire), Dr Khadija Id Sidi Yahia of the Moroccan National Food Safety Agency (ONSSA) on antimicrobial resistance.

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85 GS Mauritania

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85 GS Nicolas Denormandie Bouna Diop

85 GS Chad

85 GS Kenya

85 GS Josefa Sacko

85 GS Kenya Damaris Mwololo

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85 GS Burkina Faso Niger

85 GS Nigeria

85 GS Baty Dungu

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85 GS Mozambique

85 GS Congo RDC DRC

85 GS Nigeria

85 GS Modisane Santana Angola

85 GS Josefa Sacko African Union

85 GS Neo Mapitse

85 GS Zimbabwe

85 GS Kenya

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85 GS Mpho Maja

85 GS Commission de l'Ocean Indien Indian Ocean Commission

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85 GS Daniel Batawui Togo

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85 GS Zimbabwe Unesu Ushewokunze

85 GS Marosi Molomo Lesotho

85 GS Yao Akpo Benin

All pictures © Isabelle Zezima (oie) 2017, unless mentioned otherwise

More information (previous General Session) :

Paris, France

The 84th OIE General Session : its relevance for Africa…

May 31, 2016
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