Transboundary animal diseases (TADs) remain one of the major challenges to livestock trade in the Greater Horn of Africa (GHoA) region. To address these challenges, AU-IBAR and IGAD, with financial support from USAID are implementing the Standard Methods and Procedures in Animal Health (SMP-AH) project in nine countries in the GHoA namely Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. The project is aimed at harmonizing procedures for detection of and response to specified trade‐significant TADs among participating countries so as to provide regional uniformity through the use of the Standard Methods and Procedures approach.
A three- day workshop was held from 30th July to 1st August 2014 to validate four SMPs developed by the project. The main objective of the workshop was: To consider, enrich and validate the SMPs of PPR, FMD, Brucellosis and RVF to ensure that they add value to national and regional disease surveillance and control in support of enhanced regional and inter-regional trade in livestock. As well as discussing the four SMPs, the workshop also helped to create awareness and foster networking of veterinary experts from the GHoA in support of cooperative and collaborative regional control of the TADs.
The workshop was officially opened by Dr Juma Ngeiywa, the Director, Veterinary Services, Kenya, who emphasized the need for the IGAD region and participating Member States on the project to have a unified approach to TADs control. He highlighted the challenges of livestock resources in Kenya as transboundary diseases, livestock raids and lack of vaccination. Dr. Baba Soumare, Chief Animal Health Officer - AU-IBAR, representing the Director of AU-IBAR, Prof. Ahmed Elsawalhy, welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of livestock resources to the GHoA. Estimated at about 438 million ruminants, livestock resources contribute significantly to the region's economies, food security, livelihoods and poverty reduction. Dr Soumare cited several challenges that hamper development of the livestock sector in Africa including poor policy environment, recurrent droughts, animal diseases and failure to meet SPS standards as required by trading partners. Outlining the purpose of the SMP-AH Project in controlling livestock diseases and ultimately promoting livestock trade in the GHoA region, he acknowledged the financial support of USAID to AU-IBAR and the partnerships of FAO-ECTAD, IGAD and OIE in implementing the project. Dr. Ameha Sebsibe, representing the Director ICPALD-IGAD reported that IGAD was ready and willing to support the implementation of SMPs. Mr. Isaac Thendiu, the USAID representative, urged the SMP-AH project to produce products that would withstand the competing needs for funding and translate into tangible benefits for communities. He emphasized the need to expedite the implementation of country activity plans.
A total of 40 participants came from the GHoA countries, namely Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. AU-IBAR, AU-PANVAC, FAO-ECTAD, ICPALD-IGAD and the OIE also participated. The technical experts included Chief Veterinary Officers, the SMP Technical Working Group and national implementation teams.
July 2013-July 2014 marked the first year of operation of the Genetics Project "Strengthening the Capacity of African Countries to Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation of African Animal Genetic Resources". This initiative is a collaborative project aimed at strengthening the capacity of countries and Regional Economic Communities to sustainably use and conserve African animal genetic resources through institutionalizing national and regional policy, legal and technical instruments.
Members of the Genetics Project Steering Committee met on July 17, 2014 at the AU-IBAR premises, in Nairobi, Kenya with the following objectives: (i) To review and endorse the committee's Terms of References; ii) To review and endorse the technical and financial report; iii) To review and endorse the distribution of roles and responsibilities to implementing partners; iv) To endorse the project M&E Framework; v) To endorse the project Communication Strategy; vi) To provide guidance for the formulation of the project Exit Strategy; and vii) To discuss and provide guidance on issues arising from the first year of implementing the project.