Past interventions in the AnGR sector mainly focused on technical aspects of management and activities, including those aiming at conserving indigenous breeds, had generally not been supported by adequate strategies and policies. This absence of institutional anchorage resulted both in the lack of regulations to control activities, and of resources to support activities. In many countries, lack of strategies and regulations left the sector abandoned to the market rules only, which resulted in many countries in anarchic importation of genetic material with insufficient control, uncontrolled crossbreeding leading to irreversible losses of indigenous genetic resources.
The present project will for the first time, on the continent at this geographic scale, address this gap by targeting in particular the institutional frameworks to be established, and the policy frameworks:
Areas of policy making related to conservation of AnGR should include:
- Regulation of new technologies, considering local capacity and promotion of appropriate technologies;
- Regulation and control of import and export of genetic materials;
- Incentive mechanisms to farmers for conservation and breeding of improved animals;
- Harmonization of characterization and inventory methodology and monitoring of trends and factors of threats;
- Intellectual property rights, patents and their enforcement.
Other major lessons learned from previous and ongoing interventions in Africa (e.g. Belgian Technical Cooperation projects on conservation of genetic resources in Sahel, and FAO/UNDP N'Dama cattle breed Project in Guinea) on sustainable management of AnGR indicate that, community-based management and private sector involvement is the most effective way to establish and sustain animal genetic conservation and improvement initiatives, as they develop a sense of ownership among farmers and other members of the community, thus enhancing transparency and encouraging accountability.
Very few interventions have so far targeted the institutional aspects of the genetic subsector, and lessons learnt and best practices related to that topic have not been compiled yet. The project will thus attempt to compile and disseminate them to inform policy making and future interventions.