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Panorama EditorialThe World Organisation for Animal Health’s mission to improve aquatic animal health and welfare worldwide

Editorial Posted on 2023-12-12 13:25:04

The World Organisation for Animal Health’s mission to improve aquatic animal health and welfare worldwide

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Animal health issues are often seen as relating to livestock. However, it is well recognised that aquaculture production is the fastest-growing food production sector, now accounting for almost 50% of the aquatic animals consumed worldwide. When we know that disease outbreaks are the greatest threat to aquatic animal production globally, the involvement of the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) should be obvious.

Unfortunately, due to the shortcomings of veterinary education in this area as well as a lack of resources, aquatic animal health and welfare are not properly addressed. Changing this paradigm is the ambitious challenge of the Aquatic Animal Health Strategy, launched by our Organisation in 2021 and based on the outcomes of a Global Conference held in Santiago, Chile, in 2019.

The WOAH Aquatic Animal Health Strategy is a call to action to address some of the greatest challenges in aquatic animal health and welfare. The Strategy has four objectives:    

  • Standards
  • Capacity Building
  • Resilience
  • Leadership.

These four interconnected components must be considered within a framework of priority actions that need to be either implemented or intensified to underpin a sustainable global increase in aquatic animal production. Only then can we hope to mitigate the aquatic animal health and welfare risks that come with such rapid growth.

The holistic approach we have chosen means that several departments of the Organisation are involved, both at our Headquarters in Paris and in the Regional /Sub-Regional Representations. In this way, we can offer the sector support from the full diversity of our programmes and work as closely on the ground as possible with our WOAH Members. Our collaboration with Members, partners and relevant stakeholders, such as other international organisations, reference laboratories and the private sector, is a vital part of our agenda to ensure that we are fully engaged with all those who either need support or can offer it.

Through its activities, WOAH will support national, regional and international efforts to improve aquatic animal health, aiming to meet the world’s growing need for aquatic animal products.

We are convinced that improving aquatic animal health and welfare worldwide contributes to sustainable economic growth, poverty alleviation and food security, thereby supporting the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Our aim is to balance our commitment across all four objectives of the Strategy and the support of our financial partners is essential for its full implementation.

I hope that you will enjoy this new edition of Panorama, dedicated to our WOAH Aquatic Animal Health Strategy. We have tried to highlight what has already been achieved, as well as reporting work in progress, exciting new initiatives and some of the challenges that we must address together in the coming years.

Monique Éloit, Director General
World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as OIE)
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Related informations to article

  • The Global Seafood Revolution

  • How the WOAH Aquatic Strategy came to be

  • The Aquatic Animal Health Strategy, a WOAH global strategy

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