Press Release

Overview of the activities of the OIE Specialist Commissions

The work of the four OIE’s Specialist Commissions was presented by their respective Presidents. Here are the key outcomes since the last OIE General Session in May 2019.

Paris, 18 June 2020 – Due to the extraordinary circumstances linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 88th OIE General Session has been postponed to May 2021. Taking into consideration this decision, the adoption of new OIE Resolutions has been limited to essential administrative business, such as budget approval and specific technical Resolutions. In this context, no new or amended texts for the OIE Standards were adopted this year. However, key achievements made since May 2019 regarding the work of the four Specialist Commissions were presented by their Presidents.

OIE’s Specialist Commissions are responsible for ensuring that the latest available scientific information is being used to prevent and control animal diseases. Their role also includes the development and revision of OIE International Standards and addressing scientific and technical issues raised by Members.

Since the beginning of the year, the OIE has convened several expert Groups on COVID-19. These groups aim to develop scientific advice on the implications of this disease at the animal-human interface, as well as on safe international trade of animal and animal products. Their work has resulted in the elaboration of various resources, including several guidance documents on specific topics.

Continuous revision of OIE Standards

OIE Specialist Commissions worked on the development and revision of several OIE International Standards. These included, for instance, the revision of disease-specific Standards such as avian influenza, and the development of new ones, notably on the official control programmes for listed and emerging diseases. Numerous amendments have also been made to various chapters of the Terrestrial and Aquatic Manuals and Codes.

It was agreed that all chapters that were to be proposed for adoption this year would be circulated for one more round of comments prior to being proposed for adoption at the 2021 OIE General Session.

Implementation of global strategies on animal diseases

Updates on the implementation of global strategies and initiatives on different diseases by OIE Members have also been presented. For example, the numerous planning and capacity building activities carried out in the framework of the Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) Global Control & Eradication Strategy have been highlighted in the presentation.

African swine fever is still a threat to pigs and the pig industry in several regions. Following last year’s Resolution, a global initiative has been developed in the structure of the OIE/FAO Global Framework for the progressive control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs) to better support OIE Members in the control of the disease. It will be launched in upcoming weeks.

The coming launch of the first OIE Strategy for Aquatic Animal Health has also been announced. It will allow the OIE Community to identify and coordinate actions to address high priority needs in managing aquatic animal health and welfare, and to focus resources on activities that will provide lasting impacts.

A larger global network of scientific expertise

The OIE has access to leading knowledge and skills thanks to its global network of Reference Centres composed of Reference Laboratories and Collaborating Centres. The sharing of information among these various institutes has proved vital to the achievements in animal health and disease control throughout the world. In 2020, 15 new institutions have been designated as OIE Reference Centres by the World Assembly of Delegates. This brings the total number of official OIE centres of scientific excellence to 326 in 46 countries.

Watch the presentations from the Presidents of the four Specialist Commissions

Terrestrial Animal Health Standards CommissionDr Etienne Bonbon presented key updates regarding new and revised texts of the Terrestrial Code.

Aquatic Animal Health Commission

Dr Ingo Ernst notably introduced the background and key principles of the first OIE Aquatic Animal Health Strategy.

Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases Dr Cristóbal Zepeda congratulated the countries which have been granted a new official disease status. More information

Biological Standards Commission

Prof. Emmanuel Couacy-Hymann listed the new diagnostic kits that have been approved to be in the OIE Register of diagnostic tests.

The reports of the 4 specialists Commissions can be consulted here.

As the mandate of membership to a Specialist Commission is a 3-year term which comes to an end in May 2021, new members will be elected during the next General Session in 2021. The call for experts will open on Wednesday, 1 July 2020 and close on Friday, 4 September 2020.

More information: 

Current members of the Specialist Commissions: