17th Conference of the OIE Regional Commission for the Americas

Panama, 16 – 19 November 2004



Recommendation No. 1

Risk communication


Risk communication is an integral phase of the risk analysis process and is the basis for the transparency required in applying health measures,

Effective risk communication calls for a strategy to identify the audience to which the message is to be communicated, the source and the most efficient communication channel,

Several countries have developed guidelines for risk communication,

The Ad hoc Group on Risk analysis of the Regional Commission for the Americas has revised the chapters of the Code relating to risk analysis, including Article on risk communication, and has proposed a number of amendments, including the development of an article on risk communication components,

Article considers scientific critique to be part of the risk communication process and that it is desirable for risk analyses to be submitted for impartial peer review,



1. The heading of Article of the Spanish version of the Code be changed to read: “Principios de la comunicación sobre el riesgo” and that the word “información” be replaced with “comunicación” in the rest of the text to accord with the English version. The Spanish version uses the term “información sobre el riesgo” to refer to both risk communication and risk information in the English version.

2. The OIE convene an ad hoc group to carry out the following tasks:

a) Prepare a proposal for adding an Article on risk communication components. 

b) Prepare a more detailed guide on the principles of risk communication. 

c) Develop guidelines for the scientific review of risk analysis studies by impartial experts

Recommendation No. 2

Veterinary Education:

Meeting the Needs of Official Veterinary Services


The rationalisation of public sector spending in most countries of the Americas is causing difficulties for official Veterinary Services, preventing the entry of new officials, or reducing their numbers,

The demand for activities is growing steadily, relative to the demand from markets purchasing livestock production and from consumers, and as a result of the occurrence of diseases that hitherto were exotic,

In all countries there is a good supply of private veterinary professionals with spare capacity,

Centres for pre and post-graduate training represent the source of supply for the public veterinary sector,

It is essential to link the needs of official Veterinary Services with vocational training programmes, and official Veterinary Services are entirely willing to discuss those needs,

Training for new veterinary professionals must not only meet national demand, but must also take into account global issues,

The OIE and its rules represent rules of great value for countries to follow in determining the health status and safety of animal products, and that the entire veterinary profession should be familiar with these rules,

In the Terrestrial Code the liberal exercise is complementary with the actions of the official Services,



1. Official Veterinary Services take the initiative of establishing strategic alliances with the veterinary education authorities, educators and students, in order to discuss the feasibility of adapting training programmes for new veterinary professionals to meet the needs of public organisations.

2. Those needs of official Veterinary Services be based on norms and regulations of the OIE in order to facilitate a harmonised application.

3. The participation of private veterinary professionals in those activities, which can be delegated, and which are currently carried out entirely by public officials, be promoted.

4. This involvement be supported by professional ethics and disciplines, regulated and guaranteed by a statutory body, and optionally by accreditation.

5. In order to standardise the relation between the private veterinarian and the official Veterinary Services it is appropriate to prepare through an ad hoc group the basis and format of this alliance to the completion of this proposal

6. The official Veterinary Services support integration between the Veterinary and Medical Schools to further education in the areas of zoonosis, food safety, epidemiology and other disciplines to strengthen the principles of public health.

7. Collaboration between official Veterinary Services and Veterinary Learning Institutions within Member Countries be promoted.

8. Cooperation with the OIE Collaborating Centre in Lyon (France) to encourage advanced training be promoted.

9. Promote better usage of electronic tools to develop the necessary competencies between public and private sectors, and to guide current and future efforts in this context.

Recommendation No. 3

Simplification of the BSE categorisation system and new surveillance and monitoring mechanisms for bovine spongiform encephalopathy adapted to the structure and dynamics 

of the national cattle population


During the 71st General Session in May 2003, the International Committee adopted Resolution No. XXII, mandating the Director General to take all necessary measures to submit to the 72nd General session a draft proposal for a simplification of categories for the sanitary status of Member Countries with respect to BSE,

The OIE Code Commission organised a meeting of an Ad hoc Group of BSE experts to address a request from the International Committee to simplify the current BSE categorisation system in the Terrestrial Code and consider suggestions from several Member Countries on alternative approaches,

The BSE Ad hoc Group that met in April 2004, recommended to replace the current categorisation system by a new one, which would group countries into the following three categories: negligible risk of BSE, controlled BSE risk, undetermined risk of BSE,

During the 72nd General Session in May 2004, the OIE requested that Member Countries send their comments to the OIE to give the Code Commission some indications as to the direction in which it should be heading. Furthermore, the OIE recalled that in addition to the priority of a simplified approach to country categorisation in the BSE chapter, a revision of the BSE surveillance appendix was included in the work programme of the OIE Code Commission,



1. Further develop the proposal to replace the current BSE categorisation by a system establishing the following three proposed categories: negligible risk, controlled risk and undetermined risk of BSE.

2. Further develop the list of tradeable products regardless of the BSE status of the exporting country. Furthermore, continue to work on measures applied to products which do depend on the sanitary status of the exporting country.

3. Based on recent scientific advances, continue to improve the Appendix on surveillance with its recommendations directly linked to the production systems, and commensurate with the outcomes of a risk assessment in compliance with Article 1.3.6 of the Terrestrial Code.

Recommendation No. 4

Functioning of Committees and Working Groups 

within the scope of the OIE Regional Commissions 


The OIE Regional Commission for the Americas has identified a need to work in close collaboration with Associations, having a regional or continental focus, of primary producers or other livestock industry sectors, to be more aware of the needs and proposals of these sectors within the framework of the OIE mandate,

There are no procedures within the General Regulations of the OIE, as no specification in this respect exists,



1. The following text be introduced in Chapter III of the General Rules of the OIE, as Article 18:

“The Bureau of the Regional Commission, in agreement with the General Director, and based on the sanitary priorities of the region, can establish committees and ad hoc groups, to analyse, discuss and develop proposals on their specific expertise, that will be submitted to the Regional Commission for approval and subsequently brought before the International Committee through its official procedures.”