World Organisation for Animal Health

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The OIE’s international standards are based on science and adopted by its 181 Member countries. OIE standards in the Terrestrial and Aquatic Animal Health Codes should be used by the Veterinary Authorities of importing and exporting countries for early detection, reporting and control of animal diseases, including zoonoses, and to prevent their transfer via international trade in animals and their products while avoiding unjustified sanitary barriers to trade.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) recognises the OIE as the international standard setting body for matters relevant to animal health and zoonotic diseases. If countries apply OIE standards, they are complying with their WTO obligations.


The international standard-setting process of the OIE is transparent and fully participatory. While the OIE works to ensure that Member countries are aware of their international obligations, there are still significant problems in the consistent application of these standards by many countries, particularly when making decisions on the importation of animals and animal products.  Concerns about the non-application of OIE standards are regularly raised at the WTO SPS Committee. OIE recommendations on fish diseases, foot and mouth disease, bovine spongiforme encephalopathy, african swine fever and avian influenza have all been the subject of the formal dispute settlement process in the 20 years since the creation of the WTO.

To encourage the implementation of its standards by its Member and fulfil its role as a WTO reference standard- setting body, the OIE is designing an Observatory on the implementation of OIE standards. The Observatory is intended to serve as a tool to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the OIE standards. Data to be collected will help the OIE to determine the relevance of its standards to Member countries. The Observatory is not intended as a tool for control or compliance. Rather, the Observatory demonstrates good management practice. By evaluating progress and the constraints faced by Members in the implementation of OIE standards, the Observatory will contribute to the on-going improvement of OIE standard setting processes and related capacity building activities.