In 2009, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) opened a new representation for North Africa in Tunis , 17 Avenue African El Menzah V.
On Tuesday, January 26, 2010, the Director General of the OIE, Dr Bernard Vallat and the Tunisian Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, Mr Mansour Abdessalam inaugurated the OIE offices in Tunis in the presence of OIE Delegates, Heads of Veterinary Services of countries of North Africa (Algeria, Mauritania, Libya and Tunisia; Morocco was represented by the Director of Animal Health) and of southern Europe (France, Italy, Portugal and Spain).
The Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources of the African Union (AU-IBAR) and FAO were also present as well as the main African, Euro-Arab and Tunisian institutions and veterinary associations. About 80 people attended the conference presentation of the OIE during which the Director General of the OIE delivered, on behalf of the 175 Member Countries of the OIE, a speech in which he warmly thanked the Tunisian Government including the Ministry of Agriculture, which provides OIE with a building to host this new representation.
Support from bilateral and multilateral partners were also mentioned by Dr Bernard Vallat. This is Italy , with which the OIE has signed a financing agreement of € 3 million (2009 to 2014) to support the OIE Representation in Tunis, as well as for animal disease surveillance and food safety for the Mediterranean area. The European Commission was also included in the vote of thanks from the OIE Director General, for funding the training of OIE delegates and OIE focal points in Africa (BTSF project), the donors to the OIE’s World Animal Health and Welfare Fund for assessment missions (performance of veterinary services) and France that seconded an veterinarian to the OIE in Tunis.
The OIE Sub-Regional Representation in Tunis will be involved as a key actor in all OIE projects for capacity building of Veterinary Services in North Africa . This will include the implementation of the overall process called PVS (Performance of Veterinary Services), the OIE twinning of Collaborating Centres and Reference Laboratories with existing institutions in the sub region, the strengthening of sanitary legislation and the training of OIE Delegates and focal points. Twinning projects will contribute in particular to strengthen the veterinary scientific community in the region to participate in international arbitration on the preparation and adoption of global health standards published by the OIE and Codex Alimentarius.
Dr Vallat and Mr. Mansour also announced that the first World Conference on the modernisation of veterinary legislation and good governance in animal health will be held in Djerba , Tunisia , from 7 to 9 December 2010. The Conference will have the objective of strengthening good governance of national animal health systems and veterinary services of OIE Members, consistent with the OIE mandate of safeguarding animal health and animal welfare and contributing to improve public health and safety in food production phase. Approximately 400 participants from around the world are expected to attend this conference.