Summary
Good veterinary certification is possible only if a country’s veterinary governance complies with the quality standards of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The standards in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code stipulate that the main prerequisite for good veterinary governance is for Veterinary Services to be independent, that is to say they are able to carry out their mandate while remaining autonomous and free from any commercial, financial, hierarchical or political pressures that could lead them to make technical decisions that were contrary to OIE standards. Veterinary Services should include, in particular, a veterinary administration with nationwide jurisdiction for implementing the animal health measures and veterinary certification procedures recommended by the OIE and for overseeing or auditing their implementation. They should also include veterinary authorities and persons authorised by the veterinary statutory body to perform tasks under the responsibility and supervision of a veterinarian (veterinary paraprofessionals). This veterinary governance must be sustainable over time in order to administer long-term animal health policies. Good governance relies on appropriate legislation that is in compliance with OIE guidelines and on the requisite human and financial resources for ensuring its enforcement. The evaluation of this governance, either by an importing country in the context of international trade, as authorised by OIE standards, or by the country itself (self-evaluation or an evaluation requested from the OIE [using the OIE Tool for the Evaluation of Performance of Veterinary Services]), helps to facilitate the proper operation of Veterinary Services and to ensure the reliability of any certification granted under the authority of the veterinary administration.
 
Keywords
International trade – OIE – Quality – Standards – Veterinary certification – Veterinary governance – Veterinary Services – World Organisation for Animal Health.