This paper describes the role of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), as a science-based and democratic standard-setting organisation that provides guidance on preventing the spread of animal diseases, including zoonoses, in international trade. The World Trade Organization is identified as the international institution with the legal power to encourage adherence to international standards and mediate trade disputes. The importance of assuring good governance and the credibility of national Veterinary Services through a process of official certification is identified as an essential component in the safety of trade. Private-public partnerships and the evolution of responsibilities are also identified as essential for the implementation of health guarantees such as compartmentalisation. The rapid emergence of private standards is described as a potential complement to the implementation of sanitary standards, as long as they are applied globally and in support of the OIE standards. Ultimately, the biggest challenge is for the international community to create the incentives and generate the political will for fair trade and for the universal recognition and application of the established international sanitary standards.
Animal health – Governance – International standards – Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement – Trade – World Organisation for Animal Health – World Trade Organization – Zoonoses.