Regional Representation for Americas

Development of OIE international Guidelines and Standards and revision of existing ones

The development of OIE international guidelines and standards as well the revision and updating of existing ones deem necessary upon the following reasons:

-Permanent new advances on scientific knowledge,
-Communications and transportation of animals and animal products increase
-Human and animal population growth,
-Appearance of emerging diseases,
-Need to provide scientific-base quick answers according to safety and transparent international trade.

Above reasons are relevant enough to count with all countries participation in this working process. We have outlined a guideline with a view to facilitate better comprehension of procedures in connection with revision and development processes and its fixed annual working schedule.
We will also include text of each country comments received to revision and development of OIE international guidelines and standards for sharing and interchange purposes.

OIE international health Standards

The WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement), which came into force in January 1995 with the WTO, is aimed at minimising the negative effects of unjustified health barriers on international trade. The Agreement requires Member Countries, with a view to achieving the widest possible harmonisation of the animal health measures they take to ensure the protection of human and animal life and health, to establish those measures on the basis of international standards, guidelines and recommendations. For animal health and zoonoses, the SPS Agreement refers to the 'standards, guidelines and recommendations developed under the auspices of the OIE'.
The OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code and the Aquatic Animal Health Code contain standards, guidelines and recommendations designed to prevent the introduction of infectious agents and diseases pathogenic to animals and humans into the importing country during trade in animals, animal genetic material and animal products. They do this through detailed recommendations on sanitary measures to be used by OIE Member Countries in establishing the health regulations applying to the import of animals, animal genetic material and animal products. The Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals and the Manual of Diagnostic Tests for Aquatic Animals, companion volumes to their respective Codes, provide a uniform approach to the diagnosis of OIE-listed diseases and other diseases of importance to international trade, so that the requirements for health certification in connection with trade in animals and animal products can be met. By describing internationally agreed laboratory methods for disease diagnosis and requirements for the production and control of biological products (mainly vaccines), their objective is to harmonise these important elements of animal disease prevention, surveillance and control. The Manuals provide a wealth of internationally agreed essential scientific and technical information that complement the Codes' trade provisions.
The development of new standards and the revision of existing standards in the OIE Codes and Manuals are tasks for one of the OIE Specialist Commissions (for the Terrestrial Code - the Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission, for the Terrestrial Manual - the Biological Standards Commission, and for the Aquatic Code and Aquatic Manual - the Aquatic Animal Health Standards Commission). The Specialist Commissions comprise members experienced in veterinary science and regulatory issues, elected by the OIE International Committee and drawn from all OIE regions. They meet two or three times yearly to address a detailed work programme of standards development and revision. A new or revised standard may be requested by a Member Country, a Regional Commission, the International Committee or by an international organisation with which the OIE collaborates (for example FAO, WHO). The Commissions may use the work of OIE Ad hoc Groups convened to examine the latest scientific information on a particular infectious agent or disease to determine if changes are needed to any standards.
A standard drafted by the Specialist Commission is first circulated to all Member Countries for comment and initial discussion by the International Committee. The Specialist Commission then revises the draft, taking into account comments received, and usually submits the revised draft for adoption at the next meeting of the International Committee. Once formally adopted, the standard is made available for implementation by Member Countries. The value of standards published in the OIE Codes and Manuals lies in the fact that they are developed and revised through formal consultation and are the result of consensus among experts from OIE Member.

For more information, you can download the document "Procedures used by the OIE to set standards and recommendations for international trade, with a focus on the terrestrial and aquatic animal health codes" as pdf.