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BfR Vice President appointed Honorary President of OIV
Work by Professor Dr. Reiner Wittkowski to push through international standards for wine and grape production acknowledged
At the 7th General Assembly of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine in Zagreb (Croatia) on 3 July 2009 the Vice President of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) was appointed Honorary President of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV). In his laudatory speech the outgoing President, Peter Hayes, paid tribute to the outstanding role and efforts of Wittkowski to restructure the organisation. His visionary and strategic skills, his persuasive powers and integrity had been decisive drivers behind this process. “This tribute to our Vice President is the expression of the acknowledgement and the international esteem that also makes BfR a little bit proud. It testifies to the fact that German scientists in high-ranking positions in international organisations make valuable contributions,” was how BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel commented on this honour.
Professor Wittkowski was elected President of OIV in 2003 and occupied this office up to 2006. From 2006 to 2009 he was the first Vice President of OIV. During his term the International Vine and Wine Office, which was founded in 1924 as an international, intergovernmental organisation, replaced the International Organisation of Vine and Wine. This was prompted by the agreement signed on 3 April 2001 that entered into force on 1 January 2004. 44 wine-producing countries are members of OIV and there are also affiliated consumption countries. The goal of the organisation is to set down internationally binding standards for wine-growing and producing, product safety and labelling, and wine marketing and, in this way, to facilitate fair international trade in this area.
During his presidency Wittkowski introduced the consensus principle for decisions on OIV resolutions. This was an important step towards global recognition and implementation of OIV regulations and standards. Under his presidency the use of 5 official languages was agreed, including German. Since 2004 OIV has been working on a strategic plan. The global expertise, on which OIV resolutions are based, was restructured. Thanks to a new communication strategy centred on transparency, all the standardisation activities of OIV are today accessible around the world on the Internet.
Reiner Wittkowski has provided major stimulus to ensuring that, in future, consumer topics will feature to a greater degree in the organisation’s work. The activities of OIV in the field of non-alcoholic products like dessert, raisins and grape juices will move more centre stage.
Through his work the BfR Vice President has made a significant contribution towards OIV being recognised today as the benchmark organisation around the world for all questions to do with the wine sector.