OIE Americas Conference Concludes

URUGUAY - High-ranking officials from all OIE Member Countries in the Americas, including the Caribbean, and from national, regional and world organisations, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), attended the 20th Conference of the OIE Regional Commission for the Americas, held in Montevideo from 16 to 19 November 2010.
calendar icon 22 November 2010
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Regional and global control of foot and mouth disease

During the Conference, the global and regional strategy for the control of foot and mouth disease (FMD), a formidable animal disease causing considerable economic losses and poverty in the world, was the subject of a consensus based on the application of the recommendations issued by the Global Conference on FMD held in Asunción in 2009.

The consensus is based on the implementation of official OIE recognition of national and regional eradication plans developed taking into account the epidemiological and socioeconomic characteristics of each region and with the continuous methodological support of the OIE and FAO, within the framework of an alliance between the two organisations decided at the global level.

Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE, said: "Today, only 66 of the 177 Member Countries worldwide are officially recognised by the OIE as being FMD-free. With this new strategy, we expect to be able to increase the figure to more than 100 FMD-free countries in the coming years, while helping countries that have become FMD free to remain so."

How to respond to the risks related to climate change

The subject of links between climate change, animal production and emerging and re-emerging diseases, most of which are transmissible to humans, prompted a lively debate resulting in Conference participants reaching common positions on the need to strengthen the national Veterinary Services in compliance with the standards of quality issued by the OIE to help them address the new health risks associated with climate change.

There was also a consensus on acknowledging the great complexity of the debate on the link between animal production and climate change and on the need for further studies on the subject, while at the same time recognising the considerable contribution that livestock make to human welfare. The need for good practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and for appropriate scientific research programmes was also emphasised.

Disease prevention and control

Each Member Country described the animal health situation in its territory, programmes underway to eliminate diseases still present and programmes to prevent the introduction of new pathogens.

These presentations clearly showed that the animal health situation in the Americas is evolving favourably but that a strong, shared political will and coordinated large-scale investments are still required in order to eliminate the most devastating diseases.

Participants also welcomed the OIE's creation of networks of OIE national focal points to assist national Delegates in key areas such as animal disease information, veterinary products and laboratories.

Participants were particularly honoured by the presence and speech of the President of Uruguay at the conference.

The Conference was kindly hosted by the Government of Uruguay. The Honourable Danilo Astori, Vice-president of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, opened the Conference, which was chaired by Dr Francisco Muzio, Director of the Veterinary Services of Uruguay, with the support of the OIE Headquarters and the OIE Regional Representation for the Americas.

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