Data management on animal resources for evidence-based decision making requires effort and investment to ensure that the animal resources sector as a whole contributes to economic development. Based on this notion, the African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) is advancing the implementation of its current strategy through its fourth strategic focus on “Animal Resources Information and Knowledge Management”. With the objective to improve creation, dissemination and utilization of knowledge for effective animal resource development, AU-IBAR is undertaking a series of trainings on the use of the third version of the Animal Resources Information System (ARIS).
After a launch by Her Excellency Madam Josefa Sacko, the African Union Commission Commissioner of the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture on 12th June 2019, the first series of trainings began in July 2019 and are expected to end in December 2019. The trainings are targeting 110 National Focal Point persons from Africa Union Member States from all five Regional Economic Communities. The first workshop, held from 1st – 5th July, 2019, marked the first stage of the roll out of ARIS 3.
Speaking during the opening of the first training held in Nairobi, Kenya, AU-IBAR’s Director, Prof. Ahmed Elsawahy noted the importance of Information and Knowledge Management’s role in supporting AU-IBAR’s strategic niche. He further confirmed the importance of a good information system for planning and decision making, and for promotion of trade and investment in the animal resources sector. He particularly asserted the importance of good credible harmonised data in expanding intra-African trade within the context of leveraging the African continental free trade area. Significantly, he affirmed that ARIS 3, unlike the previous versions of ARIS has more advanced features critical to for evidence-based policy and decisions making processes.
Technological challenges to knowledge management previously experienced with the previous systems include inadequate integration of existing databases, and limited inter-operability. Conversely, the lack of integrated modern information systems at national level and outside ministries responsible for animal resources is one of the major obstacles for enhanced planning. Due to their incomprehensiveness, the previous versions of ARIS created setbacks in creating functional linkages between different data sources.
On their part, participants from regional States noted that the new upgrade of ARIS has a lot of advantages.
On Renewed Commitment for Accelerated Progress towards Research, Control and Eradication of Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Constraint in The African Continent
The 35th Meeting of the ISCTRC and the 18th PATTEC National Coordinators’ meeting held in Abuja Nigeria from 23rd to 27th September 2019 acknowledged that Tsetse and trypanosomiasis (T&T) problem continues to constrain the socio-economic development on the African Continent. While recognizing achievements made for the control and eradication of T&T as declared by Heads of state and Government at AU Summit in Lomé Togo in July 2000 (Decision AGH/Dec.156-XXXVI) such as reduction in Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) cases, the meeting noted with concern the slow progress towards achieving the objectives of T&T control and eradication. A sense of urgency was therefore expressed in tackling the problem to safeguard the gains made on the road to elimination and eventual eradication of T&T constraint.
The meeting urged renewed commitment at all levels towards control, elimination/eradication of T&T constraint.
The meeting emphasized that T&T problem should be tackled within the broader context of One Health, Sustainable Rural development and poverty reduction; urging countries to develop appropriate agriculture transformation strategies in the face of changing climate conditions. Furthermore it was emphasized that new innovative strategies, policies, advocacy and awareness, partnerships and effective coordination are of paramount importance for accelerated progress with clear and achievable milestones agreed upon at country, regional and continental levels.
For the commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the ISCTRC to be marked during the 35th General Conference of the ISCTRC to be held in Abuja, Nigeria on the 23rd to 27th September 2019, a decision has been made to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions, in the last 10 year, towards the mission and values of ISCTRC. These awards will consist of Plaques, Medallions and certificates. Recipients of these awards exemplify excellence and are representatives of the best in their fields. They have consistently excelled in their positions and demonstrated integrity and a strong commitment to the mission and values of ISCTRC. These awards will be presented on behalf of the Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission and the Thirty Eight (38) countries affected by tsetse flies and human and animal trypanosomiasis.
The recipients were nominated by the ISCTRC fraternity based on a specified criteria and eventually selected by a committee appointed by the Director of AU-IBAR.
Nominees for Awards
Gold Medal, Plaque and certificate
1. Prof Philippe Buscher is a highly regarded Diagnostics scientist involved in developing diagnostic tools that have contributed immensely to the success in the control of Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), focusing mainly on improved diagnosis. Some of the several diagnostics tools he has developed include CAT, mAECT, TDRs, ELISA, PCRs, and Trypanolysis. Prof. Büscher has co-authored more than 170 articles in peer reviewed journals and more than 10 book chapters. He has participated in several European projects and is a member of the World Health Organization Network for Human African Trypanosomiasis Elimination and is steering committee member of the project on African trypananosomiasis of GALVmed. He advises the Scientific Committee of the Belgian Federal Agency for Food Safety on the diagnosis of dourine (T. equiperdum) and is Associate Editor of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Control of Tsetse (SIT)
2. Dr. Marc J.B. Vreysen is recognised for his role in Control of Tsetse (SIT). He has 30 years of experience with area-wide integrated pest management approaches and the sterile insect technique for major insect pests of crops, livestock and human health. His over 30 years of experience has involved 12 years working and living in sub-Saharan Africa, where he guided and advised SIT programmes against tsetse flies, including the successful tsetse eradication programme on Zanzibar Island. He has been working for the FAO and IAEA since 1987, of which the last 11 years as the Head of the Insect Pest Control Laboratory in Seibersdorf.
3. Dr. Udo Feldmann is a recognized Entomologist in Insect Pest Control techniques. He has more than 30 years’ experience in laboratory and field support to tsetse intervention projects, including four years of assignment in East and West Africa. Dr. Udo is recognized for advancing the use of Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) for eradication of tsetse flies in Zanzibar and other parts of the continent. A highlight of the work in the past 20 years was the conversion of Zanzibar to a tsetse fly free zone in 1997 by means of an area-wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) campaign involving the SIT.
AU-IBAR has empowered Member States by strengthening Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure for data capture and analysis to promote evidence based decision making. A donation of US$ 36,000.00 worth of computer equipment, each set comprising an HP laptop, monitor, docking station, wireless keyboard, mouse, and bag has been made to 31 African Union Member States. The ICT equipment was handed over to Directors of Animal Production who were in Kenya attending a meeting. The equipment is for use by officers in the Departments responsible for animal resources. The donation is part of activities of an AU-IBAR project “Strengthening the Capacity of African Countries to Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation of African Animal Genetic Resources” (2013-2019) popularly known as the Genetics Project that recently ended and was funded by the European Union.
The main objective of the project was to facilitate and fast track the implementation of the Global Plan of Action (GPA) for sustainable use of AnGR in Africa for which the continent is lagging behind. The project also focused on building capacity of Member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) for effective formulation and implementation of policies and strategies for the management of AnGR and created awareness for its inclusion into national and regional agricultural investment priorities. One of the key Result Areas of the Genetics Project focussed on generating and disseminating information on issues affecting AnGR. Hence, in efforts to improve information and data availability at national level, the project procured ICT equipment for all Member States.
A unique stakeholder workshop of over 60 participants gathered in Naivasha, Kenya from 2-6 September, 2019. The stakeholder workshop, which was facilitated by AU-IBAR under the funding of the European Union brought together three groups of technical leaders of the livestock sector to discuss ways of Enhancing Harmonization and Coordination for Implementation of Key Livestock Policies, Legal and Investment Frameworks.
The groups comprised of firstly, the Continental Animal Health Platform in Africa (CAHP-Africa), a platform that brings together private and public actors to provide strategic guidance for the implementation of the Animal Health Strategy for Africa. Secondly, the Guiding Group for the CAHP oversight that was established to lead the process of reproofing the vet profession in Africa by regularly reflecting on the approach and road map. The third group comprises the Directors of Animal Production (DAP) who were invited to establish a DAP Network which is envisioned to champion and energize the implementation of the Livestock Development Strategy for Africa.
- Empowering Youth and Women in Livestock, Fisheries and Aquaculture Agribusiness Incubation
- Stocktaking Exercise to Define Intervention Areas along Selected Priority Livestock Value Chains
- African Union’s Comments on Draft OIE Standards for Discussions at the February 2019 OIE Commission Meetings
- The Experts Meetings for VEES, VSBS, Womens’ Network and Training for Youth Network Members