Water For Development


The World Organisation for Animal Health is the intergovernmental organisation responsible for improving animal health worldwide. It was created by an international agreement as the International Office of Epizootics (still known by its French acronym Office International desEpizooties – OIE) on 25 January 1924. It is recognised as a reference organisation by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and maintains permanent relations with 35 other international and regional organisations. Its headquarters are in Paris, France.

The organization was created following the rinderpest epizootic in Belgium in 1920. The disease had originated in India and concern over the spread led to an international conference in Paris in March 1921. An agreement was signed on January 25, 1924 by 28 countries.



Ensure transparency in the global animal disease situation: Each Member Country undertakes to report the animal diseases that it detects on its territory. The OIE then disseminates the information to other countries, which can take the necessary preventive action. This information also includes diseases transmissible to humans and intentional introduction of pathogens. Information is sent out immediately or periodically depending on the seriousness of the disease. This objective applies to disease occurences both naturally occuring and deliberately caused. Dissemination is via e-mail, Disease Information and the World Animal Health Information Database(WAHID) Interface.


Collect, analyse and disseminate veterinary scientific information: The OIE collects and analyses the latest scientific information on animal disease control. This information is then made available to the Member Countries to help them to improve the methods used to control and eradicate these diseases. Guidelines are prepared by the network of 284 OIE Collaborating Centres and Reference Laboratories across the world.


Encourage international solidarity in the control of animal diseases: The OIE provides technical support to Member Countries requesting assistance with animal disease control and eradication operations, including diseases transmissible to humans. The OIE notably offers expertise to the poorest countries to help them control animal diseases that cause livestock losses, present a risk to public health and threaten other Member Countries.

The OIE has a permanent contact to international regional and national financial organizations in order to convince them to invest more and better on the control of animal diseases and zoonosis.


Safeguard world trade by publishing health standards for international trade in animals and animal products: The OIE develops normative documents relating to rules that Member Countries can use to protect themselves from the introduction of diseases and pathogens, without setting up unjustified sanitary barriers. The main normative works produced by the OIE are: the Terrestrial Animal Health Code, the Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals, the Aquatic Animal Health Code and the Manual of Diagnostic Tests for Aquatic Animals.

OIE standards are recognised by the World Trade Organization as reference international sanitary rules. They are prepared by elected Specialist Commissions and by Working Groups bringing together internationally renowned scientists, most of whom are experts within the network of about 200 Collaborating centres and Reference Laboratories that also contribute towards the scientific objectives of the OIE. These standards are adopted by the World Assembly of Delegates.


Improve the legal framework and resources of national Veterinary Services: The Veterinary Services and laboratories of developing and transition countries are in urgent need of support to provide them with the necessary infrastructure, resources and capacities that will enable their countries to benefit more fully from the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement (SPS Agreement) while at the same time providing greater protection for animal health and public health and reducing the threat for other countries which are free of diseases.

The OIE considers the Veterinary Services as a Global Public Good and their bringing into line with international standards (structure, organisation, resources, capacities, role of paraprofessionals) as a public investment priority.


To provide a better guarantee of food of animal origin and to promote animal welfare through a science-based approach: The OIE Member Countries have decided to provide a better guarantee of the safety of food of animal origin by creating greater synergy between the activities of the OIE and those of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The OIE's standard-setting activities in this field focus on eliminating potential hazards existing prior to the slaughter of animals or the primary processing of their products (meat, milk, eggs, etc.) that could be a source of risk for consumers.

Since it was created, the OIE has played a key role in its capacity as the sole international reference organisation for animal health, enjoying established international recognition and benefiting from direct collaboration with the Veterinary Services of all its Member Countries. As a mark of the close relationship between animal health and animal welfare, the OIE has become, at the request of its Member Countries, the leading international organisation for animal welfare


Since 1990, the OIE has adopted a five-year strategic planning cycle for its work programme. The Fifth Strategic Plan covers the period 2011-2015. It builds on the success of previous Strategic Plans.

The Fifth Strategic Plan follows on from previous Plans and in particular seeks to sustain and build upon the achievements of the Fourth Strategic Plan.

However, important new elements have been taken into account in the Fifth Strategic Plan:

  • The contribution of animal health and veterinary public health to food security, through the reduction of disease in food-producing animals and in bees, the common pollinators of food crops; 
  • Application of the “One Health” concept for the reduction of risks of high impact diseases at the animal–human–ecosystems interface; 
  • Strengthening of work on aquatic animal health;
  • The relationship between animal production and the environment; 
  • Support for Members wishing to determine the disease status of their territory, or parts of it, in relation to the four animal diseases specified by the World Assembly of Delegates; consideration will be given to the inclusion of a limited number of additional diseases in this list, in particular certain equine, poultry and swine diseases;
  • A continued commitment to strengthen the technical capacities, management, legislation and good governance of Members’ Veterinary Services through the OIE World Animal Health and Welfare Fund and in collaboration with global partners and with global, regional or national donors.

Within the Fifth Strategic Plan, a special emphasis will be placed on the global improvement and harmonisation of veterinary legislation and of initial and continuous veterinary education.

Executive Director

Dr. Emmanuel Adanu
Executive Director