Overview of VICH structure

Overview of VICH structure
The parties to VICH
The Steering Committee
Working. Groups &       topic leaders
The VICH Secretariat(IFAH)


The parties to VICH (number of seats in Steering Committee)


European Union  USA  Japan
European Commission (1)
EMEA (1)
IFAH-Europe (2)
AHI (2)
MAFF (2)
JVPA (2)


  • Australia/New Zealand - APVMA (Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority)/ Ministry for Primary Industries (NZ) - Environmental Risk Management Authority (New Zealand) (1)
  • The Alliance/AGCARM - Animal Health Alliance (Australia) Ltd./Agricultural Chemicals & Animal Remedies Manufacturers' Association of New Zealand 
  • Canada Health Canada (HC) - Veterinary Drugs Directorate (VDD) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) - Veterinary Biologics Section (CCVB) (1)
  • CAHI - Canadian Animal Health Institute (1)


  • IFAH

The Steering Committee

Fundamental to the existence of the VICH is the Steering Committee which is empowered to drive the harmonisation process. The Steering Committee is composed of two delegates of the regulatory authorities and two delegates of representative industry associations from the three regions. Australia/New Zealand & Canada have observer status with one delegate representing government authorities and one delegate representing industry associations from the two countries (see also table above). Steering Committee.

Expert Working Groups (EWGs) and topic leaders

In order to achieve harmonisation on the selected topics, the VICH Steering Committee will appoint EWGs to draft recommendations. Each EWG will normally comprise six experts - one representing each VICH full member. Each member may send one additional advisor to participate and the Steering Committee may, depending on the expertise required, decide to allow the appointment of more than one expert per VICH member. Additional experts from observer countries - or even other countries - may also be appointed by the Steering Committee if deemed appropriate.

A topic leader will be appointed by the Steering Committee for each topic. The topic leader is responsible for initiating the EWG and guiding its work. He/she will normally chair the EWG and be accountable to the Steering Committee for delivering the draft.

Related topics may be covered by a single EWG. In this case, a chairperson for the entire EWG will be assigned in addition to a topic leader for each item. The chairperson has responsibility for initiating the EWG and reporting to the Steering Committee.


Government and industry representatives from Australia/New Zealand are participating in the working process of the Steering Committee. They may join in Committee discussions and even send experts to the EWGs, although they have no voting rights. While they are not bound by the VICH recommendations, they are encouraged to take them into account in due course.


The VICH has been established under the auspices of the OIE. Countries not involved in the VICH will be kept informed of its progress and will be consulted on draft guidelines through the OIE.

The VICH Secretariat (IFAH)

IFAH, takes care of the entire VICH Secretariat. This entails specifically the preparation of documents for meetings to VICH members, publishing press releases, distributing EWG documents and publishing recommendations adopted by the Steering Committee. In general, the Secretariat ensures a smooth and continuous functioning of the process and provides information on VICH.