12th meeting of the Regional Core Group for Europe

The 12th meeting of the Regional Core Group of the OIE Regional Commission for Europe (RCG) was held on 20 January 2021, as a video conference, chaired jointly by Dr Maris Balodis, Delegate of Latvia, and Dr Vesna Dakovic, Delegate of Montenegro. In total, 29 members of RCG and observers attended the meeting. The meeting welcomed a newly appointed Delegate of Kazakhstan Dr Gulzhan Nurtazina.

During the meeting a number of priority topics were discussed including technical points on the 88th OIE General Session (May 2021), terms of references endorsed by the OIE Regional Commission, standards setting activities in Europe related to Terrestrial and Aquatic Health Animal Codes, activities of the OIE Animal Welfare Platform for Europe, and other priority topics.

Dr Francois Caya, the OIE Chief of Staff, and chair of 88th General Session Steering Committee, presented the latest development on preparation of the next OIE General Session, which will be held on 24-28 May 2021. A number of pre-GS webinars will be organised to coordinate consultations and standard setting process, as well as planned elections. The dedicate specific online platform will be created for the upcoming GS for sharing technical materials, supportive tools and facilitate remote voting process.

The overview of the standards setting for Terrestrial and Aquatic Animal Health Code as a common positons of Europe for 88th GS was provided by Dr Moritz Klemm. In following few months, on the basis of activities of OIE Commissions, RCG will intensively work on responding to reports and commenting on all texts proposed for adoption at the GS.

Dr Budimir Plavsic reported about the ToRs of the Regional Core Group (RCG) adopted at the Regional Commission Conference in 2020 which is an instrument to support the Bureau in specific areas of its responsibilities and serves as a bridge between OIE, Member Countries and other actors in the field.

Dr Roberto Balbo highlighted the current developments of the OIE Animal Welfare Platform for Europe,  focusing on governance of the Platform, composition the Steering Group of the Platform, and state of development of the third Action Plan (2021-2023). The current ongoing activities of the Platform on transport of animals, stray dog population control and animal welfare in natural disasters were presented in detail by Dr Tomasz Grudnik and Dr Paolo Dalla Villa.

The Delegate of the UK, Prof Cristine Middlemiss, proposed the creation of new OIE Collaborating Centre on the Economics of Animal Health on behalf of the UK, The Netherlands and Norway. Professor Jonathan Rushton from the University of Liverpool presented the concept, consortium members and partners of the proposed Collaborating Centre which will focus on systematic use and trainings of economics of animal health methods in the Europe region. Member and observers welcomed this initiative and supported the UK proposal for further application and adoption.

The Chairman of the RCG, Dr Maris Balodis, underlined the importance of the discussed topics for the European region, as well, he expressed the RCG support to the new initiative of the OIE Collaborating Centre on the Economics of Animal Health.

The next RCG meeting is planned for spring 2021 (April 22) as a video conference.