Global Animal Health and Food Security PolicyAt the Intersection of Environment, Animal Agriculture, and Food Security
Topic: Climate Change and Livestock - the Science, Politics, and Beliefs and how they may affect food security.
Date: June 15 through June 19, 2015
What are intergovernmental organizations?
Intergovernmental organizations are the formal mechanism in which sovereign countries develop policies and mechanisms for cooperation across national borders. They usually organize across geographic regions or on global scales. They are not governments and generally cannot make laws, interfere with sovereign rights, or enforce agreements. In general, their standing as an organization is to create a forum to promote compliance with agreed upon rules and policies and develop principles and programs that support intergovernment cooperation and dispute resolution.
Global Intergovernmentals:For issues and policies related to animal health, food security, public health, development, and global trade, the five principle organizations are:
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)
- The World Health Organization (WHO)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
- World Bank
FAO and WHO are United Nations organizations and a subset of the United Nations membership (not all UN country members are members of FAO and WHO. OIE is not a UN organization but it is country member governed though commercial and independent interest groups can be members. Traditionally, the country's delegate to the OIE is the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO). WTO is not a UN organization, also nation member governed. WTO focuses on developing global trade agreements and importantly has a role in mediating disputes among member nations on violations of these trade agreements. WTO partners with FAO, and OIE to establish the rules for trade in agricultural products. These agreements are the Sanitary Phytosanitary Standards (SPS).
An annex to the SPS names OIE, the FAO Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), and FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius to develop the standards for animal health, plant health, and food, respectively. The World Bank is not a bank in the conventional sense, it is made up of two development institutions owned by 187 member countries and is "a source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world".
Nearly all regions of the world have organizations that uniquely address the needs and concerns of that region. The Americas (North, Central, and South) have a set of institutions that mirror the global intergovernmental organizations or are a subset of them.The principle intergovernmentals we will investigate are:
The Organization of the American States (OAS)
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)
Regional Commission of the Americas (no web page)
Inter-American Development Bank (IDP)
The Organization of the American States (OAS) is the general organizational body for the 35 independent states of the Americas-the UN equivalent in the Americas. It has chartered two organizations with specialty focus: the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) which is affiliated with WHO and Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) which is affiliated with FAO. The OIE has a Regional Commission of the Americas. There is no WTO equivalent in the Americas. Regional trade issues have tended to be dealt with using bilateral trade agreements (country to country) rather than trade across the region. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an example of such a trade agreement although it is a tri-lateral agreement that includes Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The most recent bilateral trade agreement ("trade promotion agreement") under consideration involving the US and an Americas partner is with Panama. The IDB is the main source of multilateral financing and expertise for sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Bilateral Relationships Between Countries:
Countries create formal relationships with each other and establish a presence in partner countries by creating a diplomatic presence usually through the establishment of embassies or consulates. Washington DC has 174 resident embassies. The diplomatic presence in a country provides two essential services: support their citizens and their interests in the host country and to provide a point of information for citizens of the host country wishing to work with or visit their country. Trade and commerce are important efforts that many diplomatic missions support.
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