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Every year, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) brings together the national Delegates from its 182 Member Countries as well as representatives from its global network of experts and partners to address the challenges in accelerating more resilient animal health systems. During this six-day event, the World Assembly of Delegates focuses on adopting new international standards on animal health and welfare and on considering current and future global animal health challenges.

At the centre, Dr Mark Schipp, President of the OIE and Dr Monique Eloit, OIE Director General, accompanied by 20 Ministers and Vice Ministers of Agriculture of Member Countries attending the Opening Ceremony of the 87th OIE General Session, as well as high-level representatives from partner organisations, including Ms. Charlotte Salford, Associate Vice President of the External Relations and Governance Department of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). © OIE / Maurine Tric

The 87th OIE General Session was opened this afternoon at the Maison de la Chimie in Paris by Dr Mark Schipp, President of the OIE and Delegate of Australia. The Opening Ceremony included speeches from 11 ministers, government representatives from OIE Member Countries and from major institutional actors.

Who is attending?

Alongside the personalities mentioned above, almost 700 participants, including national Delegates of the 182 OIE Member Countries and their Delegations, several representatives from OIE global and regional institutional partners, as well as scientific experts, were present at the Opening Ceremony.

What is the scope of the OIE General Session?

The work of the General Session will continue throughout the next five days, concluding on Friday, 31 May. Resolutions discussed will be formally adopted in plenary sessions by the World Assembly of Delegates of OIE Member Countries.

To address the pressing global issues relevant to animal health and welfare, new intergovernmental standards will be presented for adoption to OIE national Delegates. Discussions will also emphasise and analyse the current global landscape of animal diseases, including zoonosis.

The first working session will start tomorrow morning with the presentation of the OIE annual report for 2018 by Dr Monique Eloit, OIE Director General. She will highlight the milestones achieved halfway through the implementation of the 6th Strategic Plan of the Organisation.

On Friday, 31 May, the closing day, out-cycle elections will be held for filling vacant positions within the Council and the boards of the Regional Commissions for Asia, Far East and Oceania, Europe and Middle East.

Which specific topics will be covered during the five upcoming days?

This year’s meeting will focus on the following topics covered by the two technical items:

  • How external factors such as climate change, conflicts, socio-economics and trading patterns, will impact Veterinary Services, and how they can adapt;
  • Global situation relating to African swine fever.

Other subjects will be addressed as well:

  • The work done on achieving transparency and surveillance of diseases;
  • The fight against antimicrobial resistance and the collaboration between the Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (UN-IACG) and the OIE for the launch of the recommendations report;
  • The adoption of a Rabies control programme and the requirements to recognise a control programme on a country;
  • The importance of biosecurity for aquatic animals’ health systems for a sustainable aquaculture.

What is new this year?

In addition to the adoption of international standards and resolutions, the OIE General Session is an extraordinary opportunity for participants to meet and discuss on-going projects, and to network within the community of stakeholders involved in animal health.

In order to foster the exchanges and to enhance the interactivity of the event, new activities will be organised this year on the side of plenary sessions. Several kiosks will be set up every day on various topics, such as the PVS Pathway, activities pertaining to veterinary para-professionals education, rabies national control programmes, public-private partnerships in the veterinary domain, OIE-WAHIS, antimicrobial use data collection, and self-declarations of disease freedom. These aim to help participants get better acquainted with OIE programmes and contact points and see how these can be adapted to their local context.


Honours and awards

During the ceremony, the OIE presented honorary distinctions for services to the veterinary community and to the OIE. The gold medal was awarded to Dr Trevor Werner Drew (United Kingdom) and the medals of merit were given to Dr Ahmed Mustafa HASSAN (Sudan), Dr Lonnie J. KING (United States of America), and Dr Max François MILLIEN (Haiti).

The winner of the Rinderpest game challenge, Muhammed Haroun Moola from South Africa received his award  during the Ceremony for his great performance during the competition, which took place in October 2018 and gathered more than 1,200 participants from 89 different countries. Read the press release here.  

Finally, the names of the seven winners of the OIE Photo Competition, “Animal Health and Welfare, beyond the cliché”, were announced for their respective regions. Their names and photos can be consulted on the dedicated website: www.oiephotocompetition.com.


“What are the main challenges that the OIE and its countries will need to face in the close future?”

Vice Minister of Agriculture of Kazakhstan 
Eng. Louis Lahoud
Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture of Lebanon