The opening presentation on Day 1 of the Enhancing safe inter-regional livestock trade workshop (EST workshop) was by Dr Gideon Brückner, President of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases. His presentation was entitled, The OIE judgement of equivalence.
Dr Brückner outlined the concept of equivalence as one of different roads or paths leading to the same destination. Thus, although livestock importing and exporting countries may use different tests or animal disease control measures, the end result should be an equivalent level of protection that is acceptable to both the importing and exporting countries.
It was noted that while livestock importing and exporting countries have certain obligations to meet, the exporting countries bear the burden of risk mitigation so timely and transparent communication is needed between importing and exporting countries so that both can agree on the appropriate level of protection.
Dr Brückner also gave an overview of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code and its use as a point of reference for animal health requirements for trade. The Code provides the minimum level of protection, based on risk. He noted that risk assessment, though not mandatory, may be done if a higher standard of protection is needed.