OIE Regional Workshop on Preparation and Submission of Dossiers for the Official Recognition of CSF Free Status and for the Encorsement of National Official Control Programme for FMD in Asia and the Pacific

Tokyo, Japan, 20-22 June 2017

The OIE has developed a procedure for the official recognition of free status for the five diseases of economic importance: foot and mouth disease (FMD), African horse sickness (AHS), classical swine fever (CSF), contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) and peste des petits ruminants (PPR). In addition, there is also recognition of the risk status of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and the endorsement of national official control programme for FMD, CBPP and PPR. The official status of OIE Member Countries is of great significance for international trade and constitutes one of the most important legal links between the OIE and the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the framework of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement), which entered into force in 1995. A country may either lose or enhance its commercial attractiveness in the eyes of potential or existing importing partners, depending on official recognition of its disease status. By acquiring and maintaining its official status, a country also demonstrates transparency and helps to promote animal health and public health worldwide, thereby gaining the trust of its partners and of the international community. However, reviews of applications for status recognition and for the endorsement of programme have revealed that some countries might face difficulties in preparing these dossiers, in particular to obtain, process and present complex information and more specifically to tailor and implement disease specific surveillance to demonstrate freedom as per laid out in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code.

In this context, The OIE organised the Workshop on Preparation and Submission of Dossiers for the Official Recognition of Classical Swine Fever (CSF) Free Status and for the Endorsement of National Official Control Programme for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Asia and the Pacific in Tokyo, Japan on 20-22 June 2017, which was attended by a total of 21 disease control experts/epidemiologist responsible for the preparation of dossiers from OIE Member Countries in Asia and the Pacific. The workshop aimed at: creating awareness for the official status recognition; providing the participants with information on the OIE standards and on the OIE procedures relevant to the official recognition of CSF status as well as to the OIE endorsement of national official control programme for FMD, and more generally for any official disease status recognition and endorsement of official control programme; capacitating OIE Member Countries on the preparation of dossiers for the endorsement of official control programme and for official recognition of disease status, and any other dossier substantiating disease freedom; clarifying the countries’ role and responsibilities when preparing and submitting applications; strengthening the regional network of veterinarians working on FMD and CSF; and providing expertise on technical questions.

Opening remarks were made by Dr Hirofumi Kugita, OIE Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific and Dr Kazuo Ito, OIE Delegate of Japan and Director of the International Animal Health Affairs Office, on behalf of the country hosting the event. Dr Ito indicated that the workshop was an excellent opportunity for the participating countries to strengthen the capacity of the veterinary staff involved in the preparation of the dossiers for the official recognition of CSF status and the endorsement of the official national control programmes for FMD.

The following introductory session covered the objectives of the workshop and allowed the participants to introduce themselves and to share their expectations from the workshop. The participants were provided with an overview of the recent initiatives of the OIE and some relevant regional activities.

The representatives of the veterinary services of Thailand and Japan gave presentations to share their experience, challenges and lessons learnt in preparing dossiers. They highlighted the importance in planning any application well in advance because preparing a comprehensive and well-documented dossier is a strenuous process. They also emphasised that compiling all of the relevant information to substantiate an application was only possible through an extensive collaboration between the various services and levels under the leadership of a coordinator and they stressed that transparency is critical for a successful dossier.

OIE experts informed the participants on the different services provided by the OIE Reference Laboratories for CSF and FMD to support OIE Member Countries and practical advice was provided on how to appropriately ship samples, on the different diagnostic tests and pathogen characterisation and on the analysis of results.

The practical part of the workshop allowed the participants to work on quizzes which covered the important points from the topics presented and to work on fictitious dossiers that emphasised the main shortcomings noted in the past years when evaluating applications for official recognition of CSF free status and for endorsement of a national official control programme for FMD.

At the end of the meeting, some participants expressed their interest in applying for the endorsement of official control programme for FMD and official recognition of FMD free zonal status in the near future. Some participants also expressed a strong interest in receiving training on the OIE procedure for the official recognition of a risk status for BSE with a focus on the surveillance requirements.

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