In embracing the reform of its training system, WOAH is signalling the beginning of a new learning era for its Members. Training activities are now more centred on Members’ needs; carefully tailored to Veterinary Service roles and responsibilities, both current and future; and target a large audience through distance learning. WOAH Focal Points and Delegates are being joined by thousands of new learners, progressively building the WOAH learning community.
The WOAH mission to improve animal health globally, thereby ensuring a better future for all requires Veterinary Services to be fully engaged, as well as a larger number of stakeholders at the global level. In both these areas, competencies must be strengthened to achieve and maintain this ambitious goal. Training is essential to instil the importance of WOAH standards and guidelines and facilitate their implementation, and to foster the One Health approach, which recognises that the health of animals, humans and the natural environment is interdependent.
The year 2018 marked ten years since the launch of the Focal Points global capacity-building programme. In acknowledgement of this, WOAH has started to rethink its training system in depth and created a Global Platform for the Training of Veterinary Services, with a five-year work plan. This initiative supports Strategic Objective 3 of the WOAH Seventh Strategic Plan, ‘Driving a high level of support to WOAH Members, through standards and capacity building’. Under this new global platform, the five pillars of the WOAH training system are being constructed, namely:
All these pillars are building blocks of the WOAH Corporate Learning Strategy, which is currently under development. The inception phase, in which all the pillars will be put into place, will be long and costly in both human and financial resources, and donors are encouraged to fund the whole system for harmonious and efficient deployment.
The new training system cuts across WOAH core missions and establishes strong operational links and mutual reinforcement with other WOAH key initiatives, such as the PVS Pathway, the Observatory, the digital transformation programme and all information and knowledge systems. Links will also be created with training systems of other international organisations, particularly those of the Quadripartite (1).
The training system has already started to provide training services to Members (Fig. 1). Our ambition is that, at the end of the Seventh Strategic Plan, the WOAH training system will be robust enough to provide training solutions to all Members’ issues in regard to the quality and management of their Veterinary Services.
(1) The Quadripartite is composed of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).