Rabat, Morocco

21st Conference of the Regional Commission (Rabat)

The 21st Conference of the Regional Commission for Africa of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) took place in Rabat (Morocco) from 17 to 20 February 2015. The Conference, attended by some 120 participants, was chaired by Dr. Abderahman El-Abrak, OIE Delegate for Morocco, along with Dr Bernard Vallat, OIE Director General, Dr. Karin Schwabenbauer, OIE Delegate of Germany and President of the OIE (Council and World Assembly), Dr. Yacouba Samaké, OIE Regional Representative for Africa, as well as Dr. Marosi Molomo, OIE Delegate of the Kingdom of Lesotho and President of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa. A warm welcome was extended to Mrs Awilo Ochieng – Pernet, the President of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC).

Mr. Ahmed Bentouhami, Director of the Moroccan food safety agency ONSSA, representing the Minister of Agriculture and Marine Fisheries, M. Aziz Akhannouch. Picture (c) ONSSA Communication (2015).
Dr Bernard Vallat, Director-General of the OIE (right) and Dr Monique Eloit, Deputy-Director General.
The inaugural meeting was held in the Conference Hall of the Rabat Convention and Exhibition Centre “Mohamed VI” in Skhirat and was attended by M. Ahmed Bentouhami, the Director of the Moroccan food safety agency ONSSA, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Marine Fisheries of Morocco, H.E. Aziz Akhannouch. The Minister, in his speech, referred to the “recent animal health situation in the Maghreb sub-region, with the appearance of foot-and-mouth disease, illustrating the severe threat posed by diseases to our animal production and its socio-economic impact on the livestock sector”.

Dr. Karin Schwabenbauer, OIE Delegate of germany, President of the OIE Council and of the World Assembly of OIE Delegates, elected in May 2012, appealed to the younger generation of veterinarians to get involved with the OIE, at all levels. Referring of course to the upcoming elections, she stated that : “…the OIE is an organisation that has reached a certain age – we have just celebrated its 90th
anniversary. That is a great achievement! But we should bear in mind that some of us are also getting
older. And that it is our responsibility and even our duty to support the next generation, and make room for them when the time comes. That is what we demanded when we were younger. We would do well to remember that and encourage our young people: for they are our future!…”

Dr. Marosi Molomo, OIE Delegate of the Kingdom of Lesotho and current President of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa, highlighted the positive role PVS Pathway missions have played in Africa : “…to facilitate the categorisation and prioritization of animal diseases and zoonosis in the preparation of our national budgets and improve our veterinary services”.

She further stated that : “… Africa has potential to increase production and safe commodities provided we approach these challenges holistically. We are aware of live stock improvement component under CAADP (the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme) and the advancement of the Member Countries in that context. We would like to make a special thanks to African leaders and
international.organizations for the continuous support to the live stock industry at large”.

Dr Bernard Vallat, Director-General of the OIE delivered a speech in which he reminded the audience that Morocco was part of the countries which founded the Office International desEpizooties, 90 years ago, in 1924. He also welcomed the two new member countries from Africa, i.e. Liberia and South Sudan, to the OIE. They bring the total number of member countries to 180.

Referring to the pre-Conference technical seminar on public-priavte partnerships, held on Monday, he declared that “our ability to control animal disease on a global scale depends on good governance of national veterinary services. Good governance means: adequate legislation; relevant veterinary training courses; allocation of sufficient human and financial resources to veterinary services and to the services in charge of live stock farming and aquatic animal health; and appropriate public-private partnerships that involve the public and the private components of the veterinary services and the representatives of livestock producers”.

The 34 African countries represented at the Conference were Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Moreover, numerous international and regional organisations and many observers participated in the Conference which was held at Rabat Convention and Exhibition Centre “Mohamed VI” in Skhirat, outside Rabat.

Dr. Yacouba Samaké, OIE Regional Representative for Africa, based in Bamako, Mali, reiterated the worrisome situation of Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) on the African continent, “… given the
high number of outbreaks reported and the global mobilisation to control the disease”. He referred to the development of a global programmes to eradicate PPR and announced the official launch of an OIE/FAO joint initiative on PPR under the GFTADs Programme at an international conference scheduled for March 2015. He also recognised the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) in funding the Vaccine Standards and Pilot Approach to Peste des petits ruminants Control in Africa (VSPA PPR), conducted in Ghana and Burkina Faso, as well as with AU-PANVAC.

After the election of the bureau of the Conference and adoption of the agenda, a string of technical presentations were delievered. One will remember the presentation by Dr. Monique Eloit (OIE Deputy Director General) and Dr. Michael Modisane (OIE Delegate for South Africa and Vice-President of the OIE Council) on the upcoming 6th OIE Strategic Plan (2016 – 2020), followed by the presentation by Dr. Gideon Bruckner, on behalf of the Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission (the Code Commission) on the major changes to the Terrestrial Code since the last Regional Conference of 2013 in Lomé, Togo.

Also very interesting was the analysis of the animal health situation in Africa by Dr Neo Mapitse, Deputy Head of the OIE Animal Health Information Department (WAHIS) and on the preparations for the global conference on the control and eradication of PPR, presented by Dr. Jemi Domenech, officer in charge of the PPR portfolio within the OIE Scientific and Technical Department in Paris.

The Regional Representation and Sub-Regional Representations of the OIE in Africa presented their progress reports, as well as their plans for the next two years, i.e. Bamako (Mali), Gaborone (Botswana), Tunis (Tunisia) and Nairobi (Kenya).

During the Conference, Dr Vallat declared that “the African continent is of considerable importance to the OIE, both for the epidemiological issues that are of interest to the whole world and for aspects relating to Veterinary Services’ support programmes, in which Governments and development partners should be persuaded to invest in view of the ever growing sanitary risks.”

Two particularly important Technical Items were presented during the Conference namely :

  • Impact of animal diseases on animal productivity and public health in Africa (Dr Delia Grace, ILRI, Kenya)
  • Cross-border movements of animals and animal products and their relevance to the epidemiology of animal diseases in Africa (Prof. Mohammed Bouslikhane, IAV Hassan II, Morocco)

Towards the end of the second day, several international and regional technical organisations, as well as donors, were given the floor to present their views to the Delegates of the OIE in Africa. As such, statements were delivered by :

  • AU – IBAR : African Union – Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources
  • AU – PANVAC : African Union – Pan-African Veterinary Vaccine Centre (quality assurance)
  • AU – PATTEC : African Union – Pan-African Tsetse and Trypanosomis Eradication Campaign
  • European Commission
  • FAO : United Nations – Food and Agriculture Organisation
  • ICIPE : International centre for Insect Pathology and Ecology (honeybees)
  • IDF : International Dairy Federation
  • IFAH : International Federation for Animal Health (pharmaceutical industry)
  • WAP : World Animal Protection (animal welfare)
  • WHO : United Nations – World Health Organisation
  • WVA : World Veterinary Association

The Government of Morocco, notably represented by the national Veterinary Services, generously hosted the Conference, with the support of staff from the OIE Headquarters and the OIE Regional and Sub-Regional Representations for Africa. The event was very well attended and the debates were of a very high standard. The recommendations adopted in Rabat will be presented to the next World Assembly of Delegates of the 180 OIE Member Countries for endorsement and then for implementation at regional and global level.

The next Conference will be held in February 2017 in Swakopmund, Namibia. Cameroon has expressed interest in hosting the 2019 Conference

 

"...the OIE is an organisation that has reached a certain age - we have just celebrated its 90th anniversary. That is a great achievement! But we should bear in mind that some of us are also getting older. And that it is our responsibility and even our duty to support the next generation, and make room for them when the time comes. That is what we demanded when we were younger. We would do well to remember that and encourage our young people: for they are our future!..."

Dr. Karin Schwabenbauer, OIE Delegate of Germany, President of the OIE Council and of the World Assembly of OIE Delegates.

All pictures (c) OIE and P. Bastiaensen (oie) 2015.

Social media links

FLICKR
PICTURES OF THE EVENT

Flickr photo album

Read more
Lomé, Togo

20th Conference of the Regional Commission (Lomé)

February 22, 2013
Read more
Share this post