A consultative Think Tank meeting on enhancing the governance of small-scale fisheries in Africa took place in Dakar, Senegal, from the 18th to 22nd January 2016. The Meeting was jointly organized by the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) and the Government of Senegal, with support from the European Union. The overall objective of the meeting was the formulation of a Pan African Plan of Action for enhanced governance of the small-scale fisheries to ensure increased contribution to food and nutritional security, poverty alleviation and economic growth consistent with the Malabo Declaration that called for action on transformation of African agriculture by 2025.
The meeting was attended by 103 participants including 49 African Union member states, 7 Regional Economic Communities, representatives of Regional Fisheries Bodies, Water Basin Commissions, Non-state actors, women groups, youth and development partners, experts and African Union staff.
Dr. Rebecca Metzner, Chief, - Policy, Economics and Institutions Branch, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, FAO, in her opening statement expressed gratitude to the African Union for the invitation to participate and the opportunity given to FAO to interact and share information on FAO activities with stakeholders. She highlighted the importance of the small-scale subsector and acknowledged the role of an upcoming new generation of fisheries leadership in Africa.
Dr. Simplice Nouala, Chief Animal Production Officer, AU-IBAR, on behalf of the H.E the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma, and the Commissioner for the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, expressed gratitude to the Government and people of Senegal for their magnanimity in accepting to host this pan-African event, which is a true reflection of the country’s commitment to the aspiration of the African Union. He underscored the important of implementing the relevant provisions of the policy framework and reform strategy for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa in meeting the objectives of the Malabo declaration on African agriculture transformation agenda for 2025, specifically in regard to food security and poverty alleviation.
An African Platform for Regional Institutions for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Systems (APRIFAAS) which was established in July 2015 in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, held its 1st Session of the General Assembly in Dakar, Senegal, on 22 January 2016.
The session, which was chaired by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat as the First-Vice Chair, in the absence of the Chair which is the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS), was attended by more than 20 Members representing different regional economic communities (RECs), regional fisheries bodies (RFBs), watercourse authorities, development partners and observers.
The 1st Session of the APRIFAAS General Assembly was very successful and several issues were discussed and adopted during the meeting. First was the appointment of the Vice-Rapporteur to the APRIFAAS Bureau. The Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CENSAD) representing North Africa was appointed. Secondly, APRIFAAS Secretariat, which is African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), provided progress on activities under the auspices of APRIFAAS since its establishment last year. These include successful conclusion of a partnership agreement between the Economic Community for Central African States (ECCAS) and Regional Fisheries Committee for the Gulf of Guinea (COREP). A similar arrangement is currently being finalised for Fisheries Committee of the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) and Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) with the ECOWAS. Progress on the review and harmonization of fisheries programmes of Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO) for alignment with the East Africa Community (EAC) fisheries policies and those of their Member States was also discussed. Similar work has also been initiated between SADC and the Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM) and Lake Tanganyika Authority (LTA).
The conservation and sustainable utilization of biological diversity as well as the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the use of genetic resources including animal genetic resources (AnGR), are important for the global community and hence should be actively promoted. The African Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) Genetics project “Strengthening the Capacity of African Countries to Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation of African Animal Genetic Resources” is currently implementing an activity “Support for the establishment of regional/sub-regional facilities for ex situ conservation, in particular cryogenic storage and establish gene banks for AnGR” which seeks to support the conservation and sharing of animal genetic materials. Under this activity, some gene banks have been identified to serve as potential regional facilities. This activity is in line with the AU-IBAR’s general principles that seek to promote regional cooperation and integration through establishing and strengthening regional initiatives especially on sharing available resources, facilities and exploiting regional complementarities for the in situ and ex situ conservation of AnGR.
A training workshop was convened by AU-IBAR from 18th to 22nd January 2016 in Entebbe, Uganda and was officially opened by the Honourable Minister of State for Animal Resources and Industry, Lt. Col. Bright Rwamirama.
The training was conducted in preparation of the establishment of regional gene banks for the conservation of AnGR in the five regions of the continent. The overall objective of the training workshop was to establish a network of proficient and well-versed technicians, adequately equipped to undertake collection, preparation and transfer of animal genetic materials within their countries and between their countries and the regional gene banks. A total of fifty participants drawn from 19 Member States, namely Botswana, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe were in attendance. The training workshop was facilitated by highly competent trainers from South Africa (Prof. Daniel Barry), Tanzania (Prof. Noel Kanuya) and Uganda (Dr. Daniel Semambo) and representatives from AU-IBAR.