Princess Haya made the comments at the opening of the 81st General Session of the World Assembly of OIE Delegates in Paris, which was attended by government representatives, animal health authority ministers and chief veterinary officers from 178 countries.
HRH Princess Haya was appointed to serve as the World Organisation for Animal Health’s first Goodwill Ambassador last September, to help raise worldwide awareness of its missions and activities.
After the inaugural address by OIE President, Dr Karin Schwabenbauer, HRH Princess Haya took the stand in a packed auditorium at the Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel and focussed on the importance of taking innovative action and finding sustainable solutions to human and animal health issues.
“As a population, we need to be able to harness the products of the land and sea, but we need to be able to trade these products too,” explained HRH Princess Haya. “In doing so, we must ensure that we are protected from the ravages of disease in both the human and animal populations.
“Whatever action is taken to feed our populations, and to keep them safe, must be sustainable - and that action must be taken together.
“Sustainability does not mean introducing an approach that is replicated again and again without further improvement. Sustainability is most powerful when it creates a “mindset”, a mindset that involves exploring problems from every angle and seeking new approaches to resolving them - instead of simply relying on old habits. Working together sustainably means forming successful partnerships with aims that are clear to everyone.”
HRH Princess Haya used the example of the public-private partnership recently established between the OIE and the FEI as a model of a new and innovative approach.
In February this year, the FEI and OIE embarked on a three-year plan in response to growing demand from countries for help in improving the current approach to the cross-border movement of top-level sport horses that present a lower disease risk, as the participation in equestrian competitions reaches a record high. The plan marks a milestone in the FEI’s 10-year working relationship with the OIE, and was put into action at the start of what could be the busiest event calendar in the history of equestrian sport.
“Together, the OIE and FEI are creating a system to differentiate health requirements for the temporary movement of healthy sport horses, which are under a high degree of veterinary supervision, from those for other types of horses,” said HRH Princess Haya.
“A thriving economy, especially a rural economy, is based on trade and is a means to a nation’s stability. We must support local economies by promoting safe and sustainable trade among nations.
“High-level partnerships must be supported by governments and their national industries, or they never work. This is precisely what the FEI intends to achieve by building a solid foundation at the national level. This foundation, built on a consistent application of controls and biosecurity, allows the local equine industry to flourish and develop and, at the same time, answers the concerns of governments.”
Dr Yukol Limlamthong, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives took the stand following HRH Princess Haya.
The Ministers of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of Australia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Mali, Papua New Guinea, Peru and Serbia then addressed the 81st General Session of the World Assembly of OIE Delegates, alongside Dr Chris Elias, President of Global Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.