The global network of OIE Reference Centres is at the core of the OIE’s scientific excellence. To date, 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 Laboratories and 12 Collaborating Centres. These Reference Centres play a vital role in improving animal health and welfare within their region.
As per the recommendations from the past Global Conference of OIE Reference Centres, the OIE Regional Representation for Asia and the Pacific (RRAP) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) of Japan, jointly organised the First Regional Meeting for OIE Reference Centres for Asia and the Pacific in Tokyo in 2017.
This Second Regional Meeting for Asia and the Pacific, also organised by RRAP and MAFF, was held in Tokyo, from 12 to 13 March 2019. This meeting targeted OIE Reference Centres that work on ruminant and swine diseases, since RRAP has already held, or is planning to hold, other meetings for those working on aquatic animal or avian diseases. More than 40 participants from the Reference Centres accepted the invitation to attend.
The main objectives of the meeting were:
1) to identify and share challenges and success stories experienced by the Reference Centres as they carry out key activities, and discuss ways to improve their services
2) to explore potential strategies to promote and disseminate the scientific work and capacity-building activities provided by OIE Reference Centres
3) to identify possible mechanisms to improve and strengthen multilateral cooperation between the OIE Reference Centres, exchanging knowledge, reference materials and expertise for the benefit of Member Countries.
Participants discussed ways to put into operation the solutions discussed during the meeting, as well as future courses of action, and sought a continuing commitment from the OIE and those in attendance. The discussion explored priorities, feasibility and who would lead the initiative, with participants being asked to commit themselves to making demonstrable progress in these areas within a two-year time frame.