Livestock experts from the Greater Horn of Africa (GHoA) under the framework of the Standard methods and Procedures in Animal health Project (SMP-AH) have agreed, during their annual review and planning meeting, on high impact activities to control transboundary animal diseases (TADs) in cross-border areas in the GHoA. Cross-border areas within the GHoA support a large number of vulnerable livestock-keeping communities that normally experience a number of shocks, most importantly drought. Because of drought conditions, animals reared in such environments move across borders in search of pasture and water. Likewise, animals in such areas move for purposes of trade. This kind of movement for either pasture or trade facilitates spread of transboundary animal diseases. It is therefore important for communities in cross-border areas to collaborate, coordinate and harmonize diseases control.
The Standard Methods and Procedures in Animal Health (SMP-AH) Project activities will involve supporting communities to detect and report disease incidents to facilitate prompt and appropriate disease response such as vaccination campaigns in cross-border areas. The capacity of the veterinary services to undertake surveillance, disease control and information sharing will be enhanced. The overall aim is to enhance livestock productivity, trade, livelihoods and resilience of vulnerable groups found in cross-border areas.
A bilateral cross-border meeting was held in Naivasha, Kenya from 7th- 9th December 2015 with the aim of supporting harmonization and coordination of veterinary activities for control of trade related TADs in cross border areas along the Kenya-Tanzania border. The meeting brought together 53 participants from Kenya, Tanzania, East African Community (EAC) secretariat and African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR). Participants consisted of senior members of the National Veterinary Departments, County governments and District Councils, Livestock keepers, representatives from Local NGO and State department of Foreign Affairs.
In his remarks, Dr Joseph Magona on behalf of the Director of AU – IBAR, Prof. Ahmed Elsawalhy, noted that the bilateral cross-border meeting for Kenya and Tanzania was intended to operationalize action plans developed during previous regional cross-border meetings through developing a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) between the two countries to allow countries work together in cross-border areas.
In his remarks, Dr Joseph Magona, on behalf of the Acting Director of IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD), Dr Solomon Munyua, stated that there was need to recognize the fact people in cross-border areas along the Kenya-Tanzania border depended on livestock for their livelihood, a fact that justified two governments developing an agreement to help effective control of transboundary animal diseases that affect their livestock. He further encouraged sister nations to ensure sustained efforts and commitment in developing the bilateral agreement to completion and thereafter to cooperate fully with each other during its implementation. Finally, he requested the two sister nations to domesticate the MoU with legal language applicable.
In her remarks, Dr. Niwael Mtui-Malamsha, Acting Assistant Director for TADs & Zoosanitary Inspectorate services, the Head of Delegation from Tanzania, thanked AU – IBAR and ICPALD for their continued support to the countries through SMP – AH project.
During 2015 Uganda reported frequent outbreaks of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in several districts in the north eastern, southern and in the central region around Lake Victoria crest posing a high risk of spread to the entire country with possible spill-over to neighboring countries. FMD outbreaks were registered in the Uganda-Tanzania border districts of; Isingiro (May 2015) and Rakai (February and July 2015). In addition, FMD re-emerged in central Uganda in June and was reported in Nakaseke district in July 2015 and then rapidly spread to neighbouring districts of Luwero (July 2015), Kyankwanzi (July 2015), Mukono (July 2015) and Mpigi (July 2015).
Following the FMD outbreaks in Uganda, Uganda Government made a request to the African Union –Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) through the SMP-AH project for support towards implementation of a vaccination campaign against FMD in selected districts in cross-border areas and those at high risk. The SMP-AH project immediately considered the proposal under the framework for implementation of vaccination campaigns against priority diseases in cross-border areas and adjoining areas with emphasis on CBPP, FMD and LSD along the Uganda-Tanzania border discussed earlier during a regional cross-border harmonization meeting for Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda held from 25th to 27th August 2014 at Mwanza in Tanzania. Accordingly, Uganda went ahead and mobilized over 300,000 doses of FMD vaccines while AU-IBAR provided over USD 67,000 towards facilitating logistics and personnel allowance.
Yaoundé, Cameroun, 7th to 10th December, 2015. The Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa (PFRS) placed emphasis on jumpstarting market-led sustainable aquaculture through a variety of strategies and, where appropriate, support interventionist development approaches supported by strong strategic and implementation plans. In this regard the importance of strengthening capacities and policy frameworks for environmental monitoring, habitat and ecosystems preservation in aquaculture practices is emphasised.
In line with above, the Fisheries Governance Project currently being implemented by AU-IBAR, has provided for an activity to develop Regional Frameworks on Environmental Management for Aquaculture. For sustainable aquaculture development at this level, there is need to develop and implement strategic sectoral environment management approaches that do not just focus at the farm but also factor in the wider environment. Aquaculture practice is dependent upon the health of entire ecosystem. Effecting sustainable aquaculture development encompassing the principles of Ecosystem Approach in Aquaculture EAA) therefore requires transboundary initiatives. Common, coherent and practical regional frameworks and policies that promote the development and practice of aquaculture within watershed resource limits in this case are critical. Having such guidelines in place will enable member states make appropriate and more realistic aquaculture development plans, approve appropriate projects and institute environmental management assessments more effectively.
From 21 to 23 December 2015, a regional workshop on the establishment of a network on SPS and Food safety for ECOWAS member countries was held in Dakar, Senegal and organized by AU-IBAR under the scope of the project Participation of African Nations in the Sanitary and Phytosanitary standard setting organizations (PANSPSO-Project).
The objectives of the workshop are:
- In general, to establish a network of ECOWAS countries that are involve in sanitary and phytosanitary and food safety activities and create a synergy of actions in this domain.
- And specifically
- To strengthen national Codex Alimentarius Committees;
- To enhance the participation of countries in the various meetings of the Codex Alimentarius Commission;
- To create synergy of actions to pursue a coherent and harmonized policy of food safety in line with the concerns of the West African region.
Over fifty participants at the workshop were National Codex Contact Points and officials of ministries in charge of Codex, actors performing important functions relating to sanitary and phytosanitary issues, representatives of consumers associations.