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The protection of animal health and welfare is one of many areas where governments can benefit from co-operating internationally and co-ordinating their national policies. Without the implementation of prevention and control measures, animal diseases can spread both within and between countries. The dissemination of animal diseases around the world can be devastating for animal production, human health (for zoonotic diseases) and have serious consequences for national economies. Intergovernmental co-operation is therefore essential to prevent the spread of diseases across borders and to provide sanitary measures that ensure safe international trade of live animals and animal products.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) is an international organisation developing and adopting international standards that if implemented safeguard animal health worldwide. In order to monitor the implementation of these common standards across countries, the OIE has decided to establish an Observatory. It is an ambitious project that has great potential to gather tangible information on the use of OIE standards in countries.

Based on an in-depth analysis of the OIE and its normative work, this study finds that OIE standards are a reference in the areas of animal health, animal welfare and zoonoses. Many data collection mechanisms already provide information about the implementation of OIE standards. However, monitoring of implementation of these standards is not yet systematic, and information remains limited in scope and irregular in frequency. This study provides recommendations on how the OIE can use its existing institutional framework and information-collection mechanisms to support the OIE Observatory.

The study builds on OECD long-standing work on regulatory policy and governance, as set out in the OECD 2012 Recommendation of the Council on Regulatory Policy and Governance. It was developed in the framework of OECD work on international regulatory co-operation (IRC) (Principle 12 of the Recommendation), within the Partnership of International Organisations for Effective International Rulemaking (IO Partnership). It is part of a series started in 2014 that provides detailed overviews of the structure, governance, instruments and processes of international organisations (IOs) in support of international rule-making and standard-setting.

To date, the series includes the cases of the OECD, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML), the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM). The case studies complement broader analytical work conducted by the IO partnership that compares the governance modalities and rule-making processes of 50 IOs, annual meetings and technical discussions within five working groups.

The work on international regulatory co-operation by IOs is conducted under the auspices of the OECD Regulatory Policy Committee, whose mandate is to assist both members and non-members in building and strengthening capacity for regulatory quality and regulatory reform.

This report was approved by the OECD Regulatory Policy Committee by written procedure on 30 September 2019 and prepared for publication by the OECD Secretariat.

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