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N°58 - Deuxième trimestre 2002

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  M. / Mr Georges Dutruc-Rosset

The International Office of Vine and Wine to be replaced by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine

By M. Georges Dutruc-Rosset, Director General of the International Office of Vine and Wine

The International Office of Vine and Wine (O.I.V.) is an inter-governmental organisation of scientific, technical, technological, legal, and economic nature competent in the vitvinicultural sector, i.e. all vine-based products, namely table grapes, raisins, eaux de vie and vine-based spirits. Established by an Inter-governmental Agreement on 29 November 1924, with eight founding members, there are currently 46 members at the OIV*, with the addition of Ireland with observer status.

Reminder of the initial and current objectives of the O.I.V.
This International Arrangement sets out six essential objectives for the O.I.V.:
a) to unite, study and publish information of a nature to show the beneficial effects of wine;
b) to outline a programme indicating new scientific experiments which need to be undertaken to demonstrate the hygienic qualities of wine and its influence as an agent in the prevention of alcoholism;
c) to point out to member Governments the correct measures for ensuring the protection of viticultural interests and the improvement of international wine market conditions;
d) to point out to Governments the international conventions, which are in their interest to adhere to;
e) to submit to Governments all proposals that can ensure, both consumer and producersí interests:
    - the protection of appellations of origin of wine;
    - the guarantee of purity and authenticity of a product;
    - the repression of fraud and unfair competition;
f) to take, according to the legislation of each country, all initiatives appropriate for developing the wine trade.
The exercise of these missions is carried out in the form of proposals, recommendations, suggestions to Governments of member states, which evaluate if the legislative or regulation measures are to be integrated into their domestic legal system or, for measures which are in conformity with domestic laws and regulations, if there implementation is timely.
The O.I.V., whose members represent over 90% of the worldís wine production and consumption, is a unique place where more than 600 experts from throughout the world gather periodically within experts groups, sub-commissions and commissions to develop, while seeking consensus, recommendations of scientific, technical, economic or legal character destined to each of the member states which ensure its authority, credibility and its awareness internationally.
The O.I.V. is also attentive to new disciplines, which can have an impact on the world vitivinicultural sector. The relationship between wine and health is under question by consumers. Objective information based on scientific data is provided consistently and regularly to all member countries.
The O.I.V. is also an international information centre for the world vitivinicultural sector.
The O.I.V. endeavours to increasingly strengthen the circulation of information notably through a strong cooperation with companies, professionals and their organisations, to provide them with supporting elements they might need to define their companyís strategies.
Under the patronage of the O.I.V, the "International University Association of Vine and Wine" also manages an International University diploma, in Management, Marketing and Economy of the Wine and Eaux-de-vie sector, which plays an important role in training young people in order to prepare managers who will respond to current and future needs of the world vitiviniculture sector.

The new International Agreement of 3 April 2001
A big revision of the missions and the means of the O.I.V. was initiated in 1997 by the General Assembly. This gave rise to, on 3 April 2001, a unanimous Agreement on an international Agreement signed by 35 countries open to the accession of countries, which have not yet joined the "International Scientific Community of the Vine and Wine".
Upon the entry into force of the new Agreement, the OIV to be called the "International Organisation of Vine and Wine", shall pursue its objectives and exert its attributions as an "inter-governmental organisation of scientific and technical nature, of recognised competence" for its work concerning vines, wine, wine-based beverages, table grapes, raisins, eaux de vie and vine-based spirits and other vine-based products.
The international Agreement reaffirms in adapting to the new world context, the objectives initially assigned to the International Office of Vine and Wine shall be as follows:
- to inform its members of measures whereby the concerns of producers, consumers and other players in the vine and wine products sector may be taken into consideration;
- to assist other international organisations, both intergovernmental and non-governmental, especially those which carry out standardisation activities;
- to contribute to international harmonisation of existing practices and standards and, as necessary, to the preparation of new international standards in order to improve the conditions for producing and marketing vine and wine products, and to help ensure that the interests of consumers are taken into account.
The main activities of the new organisation shall be as follows:
a) to promote and guide scientific and technical research and experimentation in order to meet the needs expressed by its members;
b) to draw up and frame recommendations and monitor implementation;
c) to submit to its members all proposals relating to guaranteeing the authenticity of vine products, protecting geographical indications, especially vine- and wine-growing areas and the related appellations of origin, whether designated by geographical names or not, improving scientific and technical criteria for recognising and protecting new vitivinicultural plant varieties;
d) to contribute to the harmonisation and adaptation of regulations by its members;
e) to mediate between countries or organisations upon request;
f) to monitor, evaluate and inform its members in good time of scientific or technical developments likely to have significant and lasting effects on the wine sector;
g) to help protect the health of consumers and to contribute to food safety by specialist scientific monitoring, by promoting and guiding research into appropriate nutritional and health aspects, by extending the dissemination of information resulting from such research  to medical and healthcare specialists;
h) to foster co-operation between members;
i) to take account in its activities of the specific features of each of its members;
j) to contribute to the development of training networks relating to wine and vine based products;
k) to contribute to the promotion or recognition of the world vine- and wine-growing heritage and its historical, cultural, human, social and environmental aspects.
Decision-making process is henceforth made by consensus.
It is now up to the signatory states of the new Agreement to proceed with, according to their internal rules, with the acceptance, approval, ratification or accession, which shall replace the Inter-governmental Arrangement of 29 November 1924. The "International Organisation of Vine and Wine" shall replace the present OIV with regards to all its assets and liabilities and its rights and obligations.
The States which are not yet members of the "International Office of Vine and Wine" can adhere simultaneously at any moment to the initial Agreement of 29 November 1924 to be a member of the "International Office of Vine and Wine" and to the International Agreement of 3 April 2001 to become a member of the "International Organisation of Vine and Wine" upon its entry into force. This Agreement shall enter into force on the first day of the year following the deposit of the thirty-first instrument of acceptance, approval, ratification or accession.
The O.I.V., as an intergovernmental organisation open to discussion by means of a balanced dialogue with professionals and companies, with an exceptional scientific potential made up of scientific experts, economists, legal experts, high level specialists, must definitively be considered as an «international reference» for the vitiviniculture sector, by all international, national, local organisations in addition to economic and commercial operators.                                        

*South Africa, Algeria, Germany, Aargentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Luxemburg, Malta, Morocco, Mexico, Moldavia, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania, United Kingdom, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukrainia, Uruguay, Yugoslavia.

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