The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as OIE) develops international standards on animal health, animal welfare and veterinary public health, to be used by its Members in their national policies and programmes.
Gathered in the Terrestrial and Aquatic Codes and Manuals, WOAH Standards provide recommendations for countries to improve animal health and welfare within their territories and craft joint responses to global health crises and common risks.
In the context of a globalised society where animals and humans are deeply interconnected, agreeing on common rules across countries and regions is critical to protect the world from disease spread, safeguard animal and public health, facilitate safe international trade, and promote sustainable development.
The Organisation relies on a vast network of subject matter experts to draft its International Standards, which undertake this task under the continuous oversight of Specialist Commissions, composed by internationally renowned specialists elected by Member countries. The Specialist Commissions also play a key role in the oversight of the process for official status recognition, and provide advice on topics relevant to their specific mandates.
Each Specialist Commission meets twice a year (in September and February) to deal with scientific and technical issues raised by Members, experts and partners and discuss current health challenges.
While the meetings are only attended by these experts, Specialist Commissions are one of the critical mechanisms for interaction with Members and WOAH is committed to ensuring transparent communications throughout the processes. The outcomes of the Specialist Commissions deliberations, as well as all supporting experts’ reports are publicly available on the website.
Watch these video interviews to learn more about the discussions held during the meetings of the four Specialist Commissions in September:
Dr Cristóbal Zepeda, President of the Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases
Prof Emmanuel Couacy-Hymann, President of the Biological Standards Commission
Dr Etienne Bonbon, President of the Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission
Dr Ingo Ernst, President of the Aquatic Animal Health Standards Commission