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AU-IBAR facilitates Africa’s contribution to the FAO 2nd State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources Report

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A Continental Facilitation Workshop organized by the African Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) GENETICS Project Team held in Naivasha, Kenya from the 28th to 31st January 2014.

The GENETICS Project, which began in 2013 and will end in July 2018, is funded by the European Union and implemented by the African Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR). It aims at strengthening the capacity of African countries and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to sustainably use and conserve animal genetic resources (AnGR) through institutionalizing national and regional policy, legal and technical instruments and implementing actions that will result in the judicious exploitation of AnGR in Africa.

One of the strategies of the GENETICS Project implementation was to facilitate and fast-track the execution of the Global Plan of Action (GPA) for sustainable use of AnGR in Africa for which the continent is currently lagging behind. Member States (MS) were expected to submit their Country Reports to contribute to the Second State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources by 31st January 2014. Since the adoption of the GPA for the conservation of animal genetic resources, only four (4) African countries had submitted their reports on the implementation of the GPA by November 2010. This was mainly attributed to the fact that only a few African countries had developed or implemented National Action Plans (NAPs) and in instances where the NAPs were already outlined; low technical and/or financial capacity hindered their implementation.

The AU-IBAR GENETICS Project Team therefore organised a Continental Facilitation Workshop which was attended by 34 participants (National Coordinators or their representatives and National Focal Points' representatives) drawn from 32 African countries and involved in the preparation of Country Reports on AnGR. The Continental Facilitation Workshop was held in Naivasha, Kenya from 28th to 31st January 2014.

The overall objective of the Continental Facilitation Workshop was to assist African Member States prepare their Country Reports on AnGR to contribute to the Second Report on the State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources. The workshop also provided a platform for National Coordinators to highlight the various challenges and constraints they faced during the compilation of their respective reports. During the workshop, participants exchanged and shared perspectives, ideas and experiences, stimulating constructive interactions and collaborations among them.

The objectives of the Continental Facilitation Workshop were:

  • To review the draft Country Reports with the National Coordinators
  • To address, where possible, the constraints and challenges faced by the National Coordinators
  • To provide technical support and assistance to National Coordinators in the preparation and submission of their respective Country Reports

Outlined tasks were successfully accomplished and in total, 94% of the Country Reports were submitted within the stipulated FAO deadline. This was an impressive performance from the African continent and commended by the FAO Coordinator of the State of the World's AnGR process, Ms Beate Scherf. She thanked the Genetics Project Team at AU-IBAR and noted that "the outcome was overwhelming, of the 61 Country Reports received by the deadline, 31 of them were from African countries". The majority of the National Coordinators have also expressed their gratitude and sentiments that "the Facilitation Workshop was extremely useful and that AU-IBAR should maintain the momentum by regularly conducting similar workshops in the future". They appreciated the support offered by AU-IBAR to the participating countries and hoped that the countries not represented in Naivasha would be able to submit their respective Country Reports on time.

Overall, the impact of the submission of the Country Reports will be expressed in improved understanding, collaboration, sharing of ideas and experiences that will guide Members States to make informed decisions and be more effective agents of change as Africa tackles the numerous challenges faced in the management of indigenous animal genetic resources.