The OIE and IHSC have formed a joint Technical Committee to oversee their public–private partnership. This has been pivotal in building trust and mutual understanding, aligning objectives and priorities, and defining the actions required, as well as the respective roles and responsibilities for their joint and successful implementation.
In 2017, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the International Horse Sports Confederation (IHSC) formed the OIE–IHSC Technical Committee, which acts as a steering committee to oversee the joint work programme established through the funding arrangement supporting their partnership.
That programme encompasses aspects of science commissioning, standards development and review, and standards implementation, all under the overarching common objective of effective risk management for the international movement of sport horses for competitions.
The OIE–IHSC Technical Committee has met three times a year throughout the programme to plan, commission, oversee delivery of, and report on all activities. The membership has comprised a consistent team of experienced experts with a clear mandate to represent each partner: the IHSC partners and the OIE. A key achievement at the heart of this successful programme is the trust, confidence and mutual understanding that has been built between partners through the OIE–IHSC Technical Committee. This Committee stimulates very open discussions and strives to achieve a clear consensus about the challenges at the heart of each issue under discussion, the actions required, and the role of each partner. The partnership has been well served by its Secretariat, which efficiently documents these discussions and tracks actions to completion.
The OIE–IHSC Technical Committee represents a unique mechanism
Standards are at the very heart of the OIE mandate, and it is a continuing challenge to ensure that OIE standards remain current with risk management technologies and industry practices. The OIE–IHSC Technical Committee represents a unique mechanism to identify ongoing challenges to the international movements of competition horses; the standards that could overcome these constraints; the gaps in the scientific evidence to support the standards; consideration of which scientific studies should be undertaken to obtain the evidence required; and the risk management recommendations that can flow from the new evidence (examples of topics addressed are described in the article Public–private partnership supporting scientific research to contribute to the OIE standard-setting process).
The effective implementation of risk management for the safe international movements of sport horses has also been an important challenge. This challenge has a particular context in each region; for example:
the diseases of concern in that area
the public- and private-sector agencies involved and their capacities and rules
the types of sporting events that horses travel for.
In many regions, the workshops managed under this OIE–IHSC work programme have been the first meetings amongst these actors, and the action plans that have been developed from these workshops are the first concrete expression of their common objectives in the effective implementation of risk management for sport horse movements. These processes and their outcomes are described in the article Fostering public–private partnerships at the national and regional levels.
Partnerships are most successful when objectives and priorities are aligned; competencies and skills are complementary; roles and responsibilities are clear; processes are compatible; engagement is approached with integrity and commitment; and activities are conducted efficiently and effectively. This takes commitment from all partners, and the achievements of the OIE–IHSC partnership reflect that commitment.