The African Union Commission (AUC) and the European Union (EU) have signed a contribution agreement for the implementation of the project "Strengthening the Capacity of African Countries to Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation of African Animal Genetic Resources". This project is to be implemented by the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mainly aiming to strengthen the capacity of countries and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to sustainably use and conserve African animal genetic resources through institutionalising national and regional policies, legal and technical instruments. It will be implemented during the next 5 years in all AU Member States (MS) and has a total cost of Euro 15M (14.6M from the EU and 0.4M from the AU).
The objective of this project will be achieved through:
- Establishment of the status and trends of animal genetic resources
- Development of Policy frameworks for the sustainable use of AnGR
- Supporting and strengthening national and regional conservation and improvement strategies and initiatives
- Increasing knowledge, attitude and practice of the contribution of livestock and livestock sector to economic growth, food security and poverty reduction.
Operating within the framework of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), it will contribute to the initiation and promotion of policies and strategies that can significantly impact the development of the African rural economy and improve livelihoods through increasing agricultural productivity, ensuring food security and enhancing sustainable use and management of Africa's natural resources.
Animal Genetic Resources (AnGR) for food and agriculture are essential for Africa's food security and contribute to the livelihoods of millions of people. However, genetic improvement programs in Africa, by governments, non-governmental organizations, bilateral aid agencies and the private sector, have favoured the use of exotic breeds for crossbreeding, upgrading and/or replacement. These programs have mostly been implemented without clear policies, regulatory frameworks, and a long term vision and were only motivated by the primary objective of increased production resulting in indiscriminate, uncoordinated or uncontrolled crossbreeding activities. Moreover, the trans-boundary nature of livestock breeds calls for a harmonised legal and technical frameworks of exploiting the genetic attributes of Africa's livestock.
The overall strategy of the project is to facilitate and fast track the implementation of the Global Plan of Action (GPA) for sustainable use of AnGR in Africa. The implementing partners will include ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute); CIRDES (Centre International de Rechercher-Dévelopment sur l'Elevage en zone Subhumide); ITC (International Trypanotolerance Centre) and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).