Presentation of WHO - OIE

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OIE Global Conference
on Veterinary Legislation
Djerba, Tunisia 7-9 December 2010
Bruce Plotkin
Department of International Health Regulations Coordination
Departments of Food Safety and Zoonoses
and International Health Regulations Coordination
Health Security and Environment Cluster
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation
WHO
HQ, Geneva, Switzerland
1 | April 8, 2015
Outline of Presentation
 Codex Alimentarius:
– What is it? What does it do?
– Importance for national legislation
 International Health Regulations (2005):
– Background, overview, scope
– Key elements
– Importance of intersectoral collaboration
 Legislative assessment and revision:
– Lessons learned and practical suggestions
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
Codex Alimentarius Commission
- what is it?  Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) is an
intergovernmental body operating within the United Nations
 Joint initiative of FAO and WHO (since 1963)
– FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme
 180 member governments, including the European
Community as a member organization
 Approximately 20 technical committees
 Product is Codex Alimentarius (Latin for "food code")
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
Codex Alimentarius Commission
- what does it do? 
Creates harmonized international food standards with a dual purpose:
– “to protect the health of consumers”
– “to ensure fair practices in the food trade”

Also promotes coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international
governmental and non-governmental organizations

Standards, when introduced into national legislation, contribute to ensure safety of
foods

Commission meets annually - discuss and adopt international food standards,
guidelines

For examples, at its recent 33rd session, the commission considered:
– guidelines on controlling bacteria in seafood throughout the food-chain; and
– setting maximum residues level for ractopamine in meat
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
Codex standards
 Voluntary / Non-mandatory
 Reference for policy & decision-makers
 Since 1995, international standards references under the SPS and TBT
Agreements of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
 International standards in SPS
a. for food safety → Codex
standards
b. for animal health → OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health)
c. for plant health → IPPC (Int'l Plant Protection Convention)
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
FAO/WHO Guidelines for strengthening national food
control systems (2003)
 ANNEX 6 – Guidelines for Developing a National Food Law
 A set of guiding principles as a general approach to the
drafting of food legislation
 Applicable to different legal systems
 Complement an in-depth analysis of the legal and
institutional framework that govern food production, import,
export, distribution, handling and sale in a particular country
 Prompt countries to take full advantage of Codex standards
and food safety & quality lessons learned in other countries
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
International Health Regulations (2005)
A (very) short history
 1969 IHR covered 3 diseases: YF, cholera, plague
 Revision started 1995 –adopted by all States in 2005
 IHR in force, and implemented, globally since 2007
Legally binding on 194 States Parties
 Concerns during revision included - EIDs, Zoonoses
e.g. Ebola/VHFs, BSE, Nipah, SARS, avian influenza,
future serious potentially unknown international risks
 Global legal framework against international spread of serious disease
– Apply to government as a whole, not just particular ministry, department or agencies
– Broad / open disease scope for early warning/response & to catch emerging risks
– Overall framework: surveillance, response, support ,information sharing, capacities
– Does not replace existing regulatory regimes – Does mandate collaboration
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
Major innovations
 From control at borders to containment at source and development
of core public health capacities in all countries
 From disease list to broad range of serious int'l public health risks
 From preset health measures to generalized rules and risk
assessment in particular context
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
Purpose and Scope of IHR
 "to prevent, protect against, control and respond to the international
spread of disease…
 "in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health
risks
 "and which avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic
and trade" (Article 2)
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
Broad scope and coverage of IHR (2005)

“Disease”: “an Illness or medical condition, irrespective of origin or source, that
presents or could present significant harm to humans”

“Event”: “a manifestation of disease or an occurrence that creates the potential
for disease”

"Public health risk": "the likelihood of an event that may adversely affect the
health of human populations, …"

Events/risks may be:
–
–
–
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Biological/infectious, chemical, radionuclear
Known or unknown, emerging or re-emerging
Transmissible by persons, transport conveyances, cargo/goods
food/animals/products), vectors, environment, etc.
Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
Government areas and functions
affected by International Health Regulations
 Public health
 Agriculture (and animal health)
 Environment
 International ports, airports, ground
crossings
 Radio-nuclear and chemical
activities / safety
 Customs
 Food safety
 Borders / immigration
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 Transportation (including
dangerous goods)
 Collection, use and disclosure of
public health information
 Activities of authorities at national,
state/provincial/district, local levels.
Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
Animals / products
References to animals in the IHR arise in mainly 2 contexts:
 "Goods" – part of provisions throughout the IHR
Defined as: "tangible products, including animals and plants, transported on an
international journey, including for utilization aboard a conveyance"
 "Animals" – additionally referenced separately (examples):
 Definitions: infection/disinfection, contamination/decontamination, reservoir/vector
 Port/airport authorities responsible for removal and safe disposal of animal dejecta
and other contaminated items on conveyances
 Designated ports/airports must have capacities to assess and care for affected
animals by arrangements with local veterinary facilities for isolation, treatment
 Ship Sanitation Inspections / certificates include animal reservoirs
 Maritime Declaration of Health includes disclosure of sick animals
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
Key structures & mechanism
National IHR Focal Point
WHO IHR Contact Point
In all countries available 24/7 for urgent
communications with WHO IHR Contact Point
on urgent events under the IHR (for e.g.
notification/verification/follow-up) involving any
covered risks
Located in each of WHO’s 6 regional offices
– for communications with the National IHR
Focal Points
Responsible for obtaining information from all
government sectors on IHR-covered events
(should include animal health), and for
disseminating information to them.
Works with WHO HQ, Country office and
National government – on IHR events,
technical support, capacity building
Potential focus for intersectoral collaboration
Has access to restricted IHR Event Information
Site – information on selected (also OIE/FAO)
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
Key IHR elements for veterinary health sector & legislation:
Public Health Operations (potentially zoonoses, animals)

WHO: Global surveillance, assessment, support / response

States: Notification/reporting/verification of urgent health
events to WHO

States: Collaboration with National IHR Focal Points

WHO: Information sharing with States on selected urgent
events with potential international implications

States: Regulation of application of health measures to int'l
trade, transport and travelers and sanitary requirements at
international ports/airports, crossings
Keys for implementation by veterinary health sector:
Awareness of IHR requirements, and
Timely collaboration with IHR unit, including information
sharing, through NFP or other mechanism
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
Development of core public health capacities for
surveillance and response

All States Parties must develop/maintain national minimum public
health capacities, including surveillance, assessment & response

Required capacities: Detect, assess, control and report internally on
public health events – according to specified criteria
– At all levels and throughout national territory
– Deadline for development: 2012/2014
 Efforts to achieve these capacities ongoing worldwide
– Development monitored with States and WHO support
– Report on progress to the WHO World Health Assembly
 Includes your areas: Zoonoses and food-related risks
– Critical area for intersectoral collaboration
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
National IHR Core Public Health Capacities:
Monitoring and reporting
 8 Core capacities
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
Legislation and Policy
Coordination
Surveillance
Response
Preparedness
Risk Communications
Human Resources
Laboratory
 3 levels
– National
– Intermediate
– Peripheral/Community
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 Potential Hazards
– Biological
• Infectious
• Zoonosis
• Food safety
– Chemical
– Radio nuclear
 Events at
Points of Entry
Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
The requirements for intersectoral collaboration
 Required directly, and effectively indirectly under IHR (2005)
 Relevant mechanisms and provisions under the IHR (2005):
– National IHR Focal Point in all countries:
• Veterinary health sector a key authority with relevant public health information
• May also be other IHR coordinating authority
– National programme for meeting IHR Core capacity requirements – including
zoonoses and food safety
– These are subjects of national/WHO monitoring & reporting to World Health
Assembly
 Coordination with National IHR authorities:
– National veterinary legislation should be consistent with national organization for
IHR implementation
– Ongoing legislative assessment and revision process regarding IHR (2005) rights
and obligations – presents an opportunity for synergies and efficiencies
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
Assessment and revision of legislation
 Potential benefits:
– Enable veterinary health sector to carry out its necessary specific tasks
– Facilitate more efficient and effective functioning to achieve objectives
– Enable or facilitate implementation of country’s rights and obligations
under the range of relevant international laws
– Empower the veterinary health sector
– Institutionalize the role and activities of the sector within the government
– Facilitate important inter-sectoral collaboration within government in
activities relevant to veterinary health sector’s
– Good governance
 Potential challenges include: institutional, technical, informational, resource
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
Lessons learned in context of public health legislative
assessment and revision
 Others in your government are probably also doing assessments / revision of
legislation, some of which may relate to your intended legislation
 Legislation must be specific to domestic legal and governance systems,
socio-political context
 Prioritize:
– What may need to be done most urgently
– What are most important elements for each State
– Consider options to expedite the legislative process if urgently needed
 Process needs to involve all relevant sectors, offices, levels
– May well save time / avoid obstacles later
 Process needs to involve not only options for high level legislation, but also
regulations, rules, procedures that implement legislation operationally
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
Practical suggestions – Preparations

Contact relevant government legal advisors for appropriate procedures – if needed

Consider developing awareness materials such as cabinet papers to facilitate support

Start early to identify / mobilize governmental, technical, financial, other resources

Contact other States (particularly those with similar national contexts) who are doing, or
have done, similar assessments and revisions for their lessons learned, collaboration

Contact your country's national authorities concerned with implementing the IHR (2005)
rights and obligations and other relevant national/international obligations (e.g.
WTO/Trade):

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
Facilitates awareness of full legislative landscape relevant to veterinary legislation

Can ensure consistency and effective implementation in areas of mutual concern
Start early to identify existing legislation, regulations, rules relating to your proposed
legislation - can take surprising time, and if are problems better to know early
Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
Resources: Guidance for full assessment
 Detailed, step by step guidance materials on WHO Website (IHR context)
 Most relevant: Brief Introduction: Considerations of Why, What, Who and How
of legislative assessment and revision – as applied to IHR (2005) but much of it
is generally applicable (and brief!) www.who.int/ihr/legal_issues/legislation/en/index.html
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
www.who.int/ihr
Thank you
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Presentation of WHO: OIE Global Conference on Veterinary Legislation |
April 8, 2015
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