Part I: Executive Summary
Today, development and growth of many countries depends on the performance of their agricultural policies and economies. This directly relates to the quality of their Veterinary Services. Important roles for VS include veterinary public health – including food‐borne diseases – and regional and international market access for animals and animal products. To meet these new opportunities and challenges, VS need to operate on scientifically‐based principles and be technically independent and immune from political pressures from all sources. Efforts to strengthen VS and to support them to comply with OIE international standards on quality and evaluation of VS require the active participation and investment on the part of both the public and the private sectors. To assist in this effort, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Inter‐American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) have joined forces to develop a tool for the Evaluation of the Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) of a country. The PVS tool is designed to assist VS to establish their current level of performance, to identify gaps and weaknesses regarding their ability to comply with OIE international standards, to form a shared vision with stakeholders (including the private sector), and to establish priorities and carry out strategic initiatives. WTO Members such as Namibia are also bound by the provisions of the SPS Agreement. The SPS Agreement reaffirms the right of each member country to protect plant, animal and human life or health, but the Agreement requires countries to base these actions on scientific principles. For animal health and zoonoses, the OIE is cited as the reference organization for standards, guidelines and recommendations covering international trade in animals and animal products. This approach of implementing international standards, guidelines and recommendations developed through the OIE, including standards on quality and evaluation of VS, aims to ensure that international trade is free of discrimination and scientifically unjustified restrictions.
Objectives, scope and context of evaluation
The evaluation of Veterinary Services of the Republic of Namibia had the objective of identifying both strengths and gaps in capability against the criteria set out in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code, using the OIE PVS tool.
The original idea of asking the OIE for this evaluation came from Namibia’s Agricultural Union. Its congress passed a resolution requesting a PVS evaluation.