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Enhancement of Early Warning Systems for Food Safety in Eastern Africa

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Final Communique

© 2014 AU-IBAR. Participants during FAO/AU-IBAR Technical Workshop Nairobi, 27 - 31 October, 2014.© 2014 AU-IBAR. Participants during FAO/AU-IBAR Technical Workshop Nairobi, 27 - 31 October, 2014.FAO/AU-IBAR Technical Workshop. Nairobi, 27 - 31 October, 2014. The workshop on "Enhancement of Early Warning Systems for Food Safety in Eastern Africa", jointly organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) took place at the JACARANDA hotel in Nairobi from 27 to 31 October, 2014.

Experts in food, agriculture, public and veterinary health from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania Uganda, Makarere University, Nairobi University as well as representatives from IGAD, AU-IBAR, AU- PACA , OIE, ILRI, WB, WHO, and FAO participated in the meeting. The workshop was organized with the technical support and participation of experts from Cranfield University (UK) and the Institute of Coastal Health in Canada.

The meeting was officially opened by Dr. Murithi Mbabu, representing the State Department of Livestock of Kenya followed by remarks from Dr. Raphael Coly, from AU-IBAR and Mr. Robert Alport, on behalfthe FAO Representative in Kenya.

Following the decision of the African Union Commission to establish the African Union Food Safety Management Coordination Mechanism and Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), FAO and AU-IBAR are cooperating with other international organizations to support country and regional capacities aimed at effective implementation of the AU decisions.

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Launch of the African Reference Laboratory for Bee Health at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe)

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© 2014 icipe/flick. African Reference Laboratory for Bee Health.© 2014 icipe/flick. African Reference Laboratory for Bee Health.Nairobi, Kenya. Monday 3 November, 2014. Scientists in a new, world-class laboratory in Kenya will work to protect Africa's bees and help farmers produce top-quality honey and wax for international markets. Located at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Nairobi, Kenya, it will improve our understanding of these unique creatures and boost food security by protecting these important pollinators.

Launched today at an event attended by Ambassadors, High Commissioners, government officials and dignitaries from Africa, Europe and around the world, the African Reference Laboratory for Bee Health is the centrepiece of a three-year project funded by the European Union in Kenya worth Kshs 1.7 billion (€14.7 million). It was constructed with the support of icipe's core donors: The German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Government of Kenya, the Swedish International Development Cooperation (Sida), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and UK Aid.

In Africa and worldwide, bees are crucial for agriculture and the environment. More than 70% of the world's major crops rely on bee pollination to produce fruits and seeds. Bees also provide much-needed extra income for smallholder farmers, who sell honey, wax and other products.

However, honeybee populations across the world are struggling to overcome attacks from parasites such as the varroa mite and infection with diseases, as well as the dreaded Colony Collapse Disorder that has decimated bee populations in the USA and parts of Europe. The laboratory will endeavour to understand and prevent these problems from taking hold in Africa.

"Bees and other pollinators are significant contributors to food security and ecosystem health. Bees improve the environment and they do not prey on any other species. Aside from crops, bees also pollinate grasses and forage plants, therefore contributing indirectly to meat and milk production," said Dr Segenet Kelemu, Director General and CEO of icipe.

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Strengthening capacities on the genetic resources management in Central Africa and the West

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In the framework of the implementation of two initiatives that are, the AU-IBAR Genetics project "Strengthening the Capacity of African Countries and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation of African Animal Genetic Resources" and the technical cooperation project between the Regional Office of FAO and AU-IBAR "Assistance for a Regional Initiative on Animal Genetic Resources in Africa" was held in the premises of CEBEVIRHA in N'Djamena, Chad from 28 to 30 August 2014, a regional workshop on "Strengthening capacities on the genetic resources management in Central Africa and the West".

The workshop registered the attendance of national coordinators of animal genetic resources, the focal points for the AU-IBAR project genetics from West and Central Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Chad and Togo), representatives of sub-regional, regional and international institutions (CEBEVIRHA, ECCAS, CIRDES, CORAF/WECARD, FAO, ITC/WALIC and AU-IBAR). The main objective was to strengthen the capacity of the sub-regional focal point (S-RFP) for West and Central Africa to improve the management of animal genetic resources through better coordination and networking.

More specifically, the workshop aimed to:

  • Assess the progress made in the implementation of the activities of the SRFP since the last meeting in Libreville in 2011;
  • Agree on the most desirable institutional set-up considering the progress assessed, the present institutional environment in West and in Central Africa
  • Agree/confirm the geographical coverage of the S-RFP or otherwise decide;
  • Select institution(s) to host the secretariat of the S-RFP(s);
  • Elect Steering committee(s) for the S-RFP(s);
  • Propose a mechanism for the sustainability of S-RPF(s) beyond projects support.

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