Third cycle of regional seminars for the training of National Focal Points on Communication
This second ‘advanced training’ seminar for OIE national Focal Point on Communication came as a follow up of the first one in Prague in 2011. All 53 NFPs of Europe were invited to the Seminar, out of which, 40 attended.
The agenda was developed to train the NFPs on the management of national communication systems and of operational communication campaigns, in particular on:
Communication is the most recent topic for which the Delegates of OIE Member Countries have been requested to nominate Focal Points. This two-and-half day seminar held in Prague was the first of its kind, gathering together representatives from more than 40 countries in the European region. The purpose of the seminar was to clarify the role of OIE Focal Points and to create a network of ‘OIE communicators’ in the region, to promote and advocate for animal-health-related issues in front of various audiences. It was also an opportunity to highlight the strategic value of communication in animal health policies as it is often underestimated, especially in times of ‘no crisis’.
Based on the standard format of OIE seminars for National Focal Points, the programme of this first seminar was divided into two main sessions, with institutional presentations on the OIE on the first day, and technical presentations and working groups on the second. Discussions within the working groups and in the plenary sessions demonstrated that, even though everyone agrees on the importance of communication in principle; in practice, a thorough understanding and effective implementation are found only in a few cases.
There was a general consensus on the OIE initiative to lead ‘animal health communication’ with a proposal to develop a platform where all relevant communication tools and documents could be shared. This would not only serve as a reference for all animal health communication in the region, but would also allow countries with fewer resources to access material at no or limited cost for their own use.
From a logistical point of view, the seminar was very well organised by the OIE Regional Representation for Eastern Europe. A special thank you should be given to the hosting country, which provided members of its staff to act as hosts and rooms at the Czech National State Veterinary Administration, ensuring that all participants enjoyed an excellent stay in Prague.