The global network of OIE Reference Centres is the central core of the OIE’s scientific excellence. As of 2018, there are 246 Reference Laboratories covering 105 diseases or topics across 35 countries and 55 Collaborating Centres covering 49 topics across 28 countries. The Asia-Pacific region contains 48 Reference Laboraotries and 12 Collaborating Centres. These Reference Centres play an important role in the improvement of animal health and welfare within the region.
As per the recommendations from the past Global Conference of OIE Reference Centres, the OIE RRAP and the Government of Japan, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), jointly organised the 1st Regional Meeting for OIE Reference Centres for Asia and the Pacific in Tokyo, Japan in 2017.
As the OIE RRAP has already held or is planning to hold other meetings specifically targeting the OIE Reference Centres working on aquatic animal or avian diseases respectively, OIE RRAP organised the 2nd Regional Meeting for OIE Reference Centres for Asia and the Pacific in collaboration with the MAFF from the 12th to 13th of March 2019 in Tokyo, Japan, inviting the OIE Reference Centres that work in the area of ruminant and swine diseases. The meeting was attended by over 40 participants from the OIE Reference Centres that work in the area of ruminant and swine diseases.
The main objectives of the meeting were 1) to identify and share challenges and success stories encountered by the OIE Reference Centres when carrying out key activities and discuss ways to improve their services, 2) to explore protential strategies to promote and disseminate scientific work and capacity building activities provided by the OIE Reference Centres, and 3) to identify possible mechanisms to improve and strengthen multilateral cooperation between the OIE Reference Centres in the exchange of knowledge, reference materials and expertise of the benefit of Member Countries.
Participants discussed to cement the way forward following the meeting and obtain an agreed commitment from both the OIE and the Reference Centres in attendance regarding their course of action and their plan to operationalise the solutions and topics discussed within the meeting. The discussion determined the priority, feasibility and who would lead the initiative with the participants being asked to commit to making presentable progress towards the notions within a 2 year time frame.