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Rosselkhoznadzor extends sincere condolences upon the decease of Nikola Belev, the first OIE Regional Representative for Eastern Europe and Honored President of the OIE Regional Commission for Europe

Rosselkhoznadzor regretfully informs that on August 3, 2002, passed away Nikola Tanev Belev, a notorious researcher, who, at different stages of his life, held high positions in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry of Bulgaria and was a Honored President of the Regional Commission of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) for Europe and first OIE Regional Representative for Eastern Europe.

Development of the Veterinary Service of Bulgaria and its achievements are closely associated with Nikola Belev. For 13 years he was the Head of the National Veterinary Service of Bulgaria and promoted consolidation of its credibility both on the national and international levels. His name is much appreciated all over the world owing to his great achievements and contribution to the global animal health control.

Nikola Tanev Belev graduated from the Higher Institute of Zootechnics and Veterinary Medicine in Stara Zagora (Bulgaria). From 1971, he worked in the Veterinary Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

In late 1970-s, Nikola Belev initiated and later headed the State Scientific Association “Veterinary Business” under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry of Bulgaria, which was commended by the global veterinary professional community.

For over 10 years Nikola Belev headed the National Veterinary Service of Bulgaria. OIE highly appreciated his contribution to the protection of animal health and food safety in Bulgaria from the effects of Chernobyl disaster that happened in April, 1986.

Being the Head of the Veterinary Service, Nikola Belev contributed to the disease freedom maintenance in the country and to the effective animal disease prevention against the background of the precarious situation in the Near East and Balkans in the late 80-s that significantly affected active animal movements in the region. 

He also made a substantial contribution to the control of Rift Valley fever – a viral zoonosis that mostly infects animals but is also capable of infecting humans.

From 1972, Dr. Belev was a permanent Delegate of Bulgaria to the OIE, in 1988 he was appointed a member of the Administrative Commission and President of the OIE Regional Commission for Europe, and in 1991 - the OIE Regional Representative for Eastern Europe. During the OIE General Session in May 2012, taking into account his great achievements, Professor Belev was elected Honorary President of the OIE Regional Commission for Europe. Contribution of Prof. Belev to the development and approval of the OIE image in the world community is huge.

As the OIE Regional Representative for Eastern Europe, he promoted the idea of closer cooperation between Eastern European and Western countries, as well as between the OIE, EU, FAO, WTO, World Bank and other international organizations.

Throughout his career, Nikola Belev actively developed the interaction between the OIE and Russia.

In May 1999, Nikola Belev was awarded the Gold Medal for outstanding services to international veterinary science, the OIE highest distinction. The French government honored him with the insignia of chevalier of the national order (Officier de L'ordre du merite Agricole, 2007) for his professional qualities and contribution to the development of agriculture and veterinary science in France. Nikola Belev was elected a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Agriculture (1997), the Serbian Veterinary Academy (2004) and the Ukrainian Academy of Agriculture (2005).

For many years the Rosselkhoznadzor actively cooperated with Nikola Belev on a wide range of issues related to veterinary medicine, animal health and welfare.

The Service has great respect for the Professor's achievements in the world veterinary medicine and expresses its deep condolences to the family and friends of Nikola Belev.

Aug 5, 2020