WOAH releases its first thematic study as part of the Observatory 

Thematic Study on Zoning_landscape view of a farmer and facing some animals

The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) is proud to announce the launch of the Observatory’s first thematic study, with a focus on the international standard of zoning.  

The thematic study is the latest output of the Observatory run by WOAH, a programme monitoring the implementation of its international standards. To get the data needed for the assessment, a questionnaire was sent to Members to assess the use of zoning for avian influenza, African swine fever (ASF) and foot and mouth disease (FMD). The results have been put together in a comprehensive study which notably highlights the use, major challenges, drawbacks and positive impacts of implementation, ending with a set of good practices for both the Organisation and its Members. Zoning as a standard was implemented by 70% of responding Members affected by avian influenza in poultry, 55% of Members affected by ASF, and 50% of Members affected by FMD.

Amongst Members using zoning,


reported partial or no integration of WOAH standards on zoning into their national regulatory framework


reported the integration of WOAH standards on zoning into their practices.  

WOAH International Standards provide a solid basis to improve global animal health, welfare, veterinary public health and international/regional trade facilitation if consistently incorporated into national and legislative frameworks. Zoning and compartmentalisation are two key concepts specifically designed to support Members in preventing and controlling the spread of a disease, while also contributing to the safe trade of animals and related commodities. However, Members may face challenges as they attempt to implement zoning and compartmentalisation standards. At times, their capacity to meet and adhere to them can also be limited, as shown by previous work of the Organisation. 

Setting standards is central to WOAH’s mission. In that context, the Organisation also looks at how Standards are used by Members. It is with this goal in mind that the Observatory was created. A data-driven programme, the Observatory monitors the implementation of WOAH International Standards and has a twofold purpose. First, it is meant to help the Organisation better support its Members by identifying where the services and processes proposed by WOAH could be better adjusted respond to Members’ needs. Second, by highlighting barriers to the implementation of these standards, and by developing tailored capacity-building activities, the programme ensures that the standards remain relevant, fit-for-purpose, and are well understood. 

For an entire century, WOAH has been at the forefront of controlling infectious animal diseases using innovation as a driving force. Reliable data supports national authorities and the international community in making evidence-based decisions that improve global health security and strengthen health systems.  In 2022, WOAH set off on a momentous journey with the innovation brought on by the Observatory, and is now spearheading the effort to make data related to animal health accessible for everyone.  

The section of the thematic study dedicated to compartmentalisation will follow in 2024-2025. The data collected on zoning are being currently further analysed to explore the factors that may influence the acceptance of zones by trading partners. These findings will be shared later in 2024. 

For more information, you can consult the thematic study on Use, challenges and impact of zoning and compartmentalisation and a short factsheet, offering a visual glimpse into the results.