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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

OIE Director-General awarded FAO medal for services to global animal health

Head of the World Organisation for Animal Health to retire after 15 years of mandate

28 October 2015, Rome - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today awarded a FAO medal to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Director General, Bernard Vallat, in recognition of his services to animal health and veterinary systems around the globe.

The FAO Director-General highlighted Vallat’s role in creating bridges to FAO’s work on animal health – terrestrial and aquatic - and food safety that aims to improve veterinary systems worldwide so they are able to meet international standards and contribute to alleviating poverty and eradicating hunger.

Joint success

FAO and OIE already have a number of joint initiatives to stem transboundary animal diseases and high impact ones that can affect human health directly.

These include the successful campaign to eradicate rinderpest, and coordinated efforts to control highly pathogenic avian influenza, Peste de Petits Ruminants and foot-and-mouth disease, as well  as joint actions on curbing antimicrobial resistance in the agriculture and food producing sector.

Accepting the award, Vallat underlined these successes and looked ahead at future challenges for the agencies.  “Now we need to work towards the eradication of Peste de Petits Ruminants,” he said, – a lethal plague for goats and sheep and the scourge of rural households in vast swathes of the developing world.

He drew attention to the need for the responsible use of antibiotics, and for finding holistic approaches that link animal, human and environmental health with an eye on socioeconomic factors highlighted in the One Health approach, where complex issues such as global health need to be tackled with a better understanding and collaboration among disciplines and professions.

Calling OIE a flagbearer for international standards on animal health, Graziano Da Silva praised Vallat’s efforts to promote partnership with FAO, which he recognized as “essential for both organizations”.

Bernard Vallat will retire in December 2015, after three consecutive terms as head of OIE, a position he held from 2000 to 2015.