Following immediately after Dr Gideon Brückner’s presentation on the OIE judgement of equivalence was a related presentation by Dr Jeffrey Mariner, a scientist with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), on the role of risk analysis in the OIE judgement of equivalence.
Dr Mariner began with a general definition of ‘risk’ as the likelihood of occurrence of a hazard and the economic consequences. Because ‘zero risk’ does not exist, there is need to assess the relative level of risk against the desired benefits.
He then outlined the four main components of risk analysis:
- hazard identification;
- risk assessment;
- risk management; and
- risk communication
Reference was made to Chapter 2.1 of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code which deals with the subject of import risk analysis. According to this chapter of the Code, the main aim of import risk analysis is to provide importing countries with an objective method of assessing the disease risks associated with the importation of animals and animal products.
Transparency, trust and open communication are critical during assessment so that the exporting country is provided with clear reasons for imposition of import conditions or refusal to import.
The need for coordinated regional efforts was underscored, with the observation that regional problems will require regional solutions, even as the national veterinary authorities play their role in certification of livestock and livestock products.