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Secretariats of Sub-Regional Focal Points for “Strengthening the Capacity of African Countries to Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of African Animal Genetic Resources” Project meet in Nairobi

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© 2014 AU-IBAR. Group Photo.© 2014 AU-IBAR. Group Photo.A meeting of the Secretariats of the sub-regional focal points for the "Strengthening the Capacity of African Countries to Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of African Animal Genetic Resources" Project was held at the AU-IBAR offices, in Nairobi, Kenya on 15-16 July 2014.

Among the outcomes of the meeting was the unanimous agreement that AU-IBAR would be the Secretariat of a newly established Regional Focal Point (RFP) for Africa. The structure, membership and roadmap for the RFP was developed and agreed to by the participants.

The Secretariats represented were from Eastern Africa (Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa - ASARECA), Southern Africa (Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa - CCARDESA ), Northern Africa (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique d'Algérie - INRAA) and Conseil Ouest et Centre Africain pour la Recherche et le Développement Agricoles/ West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research Development - CORAF/WECARD) as the sub-regional research and development institution likely to host the Sub-Regional Focal Point (S-RFP) for West and Central Africa.

The overall objective of the meeting was to strengthen the capacity of S-RFPs to implement work programmes on African animal genetic resources (AnGR).

The meeting sought to:

  1. discuss roles and responsibilities of Interim Steering Committees, Secretariats and Steering Committees;
  2. discuss roles and responsibilities of Regional Coordinators within the Secretariats;
  3. assess the progress made since the establishment of the Interim Steering Committees (ISC) and Sub-Regional Focal Point (S-RFP) in Eastern, Southern and Northern Africa, in March, April and June, respectively;
  4. discuss the challenges faced by the ISC/S-RFP;
  5. validate the Work Plans of the ISC/S-RFPs including the budgets; and
  6. agree on the structure, road map and the process of establishment of the Regional Focal Point for Africa.

The meeting was officially opened by Dr Simplice Nouala, the Head of Animal Production Unit, representing the Director of AU-IBAR. Participants included representatives of ASARECA (Dr Jean Ndikumana), CCARDESA (Dr Baitsi Podisi); INRAA (Dr Abdelfettah Mourad), CORAF/WECARD (Dr Hamade Kagoné) and members of the Genetics Project team (Drs. Mary Mbole-Kariuki, Pissang Tchangai, N'Guetta Bosso and Edward Nengomasha).

The Secretariats presented the progress they had made since the regional workshops held earlier to initiate the process of the establishment/strengthening of S-RFPs. Drs Ndikumana, Podisi and Mourad reported that their institutions had appointed them as Sub-Regional Coordinators for the S-RFPs for East (ASARECA), Southern (CCARDESA) and Northern (INRAA) Africa respectively. Additionally, Dr Kagone had been appointed by CORAF/WECARD to coordinate and liaise with the AU-IBAR Genetics Project. The S-RFP for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) conducted a planning meeting for the ISC in May 2014. The interim SC elected for East Africa will undertake a similar planning meeting on 1st August 2014. Proposed work plans and identified priority activities to be conducted by the end of 2014 were discussed.

The key activities to be held by December 2014 include holding General Assemblies to establish the substantive S-RFPs for the various regions and the first Steering Committee meetings to start the operations of the S-RFPs in earnest. Budget proposals for these activities were also discussed.

The key resolutions were that:

  1. the outcomes of the secretariats meeting would be presented at the Project Steering Committee meeting;
  2. a Communique on the proposal for AU-IBAR to be the Regional Focal Point for Africa on AnGR would be issued;
  3. draft TORs for the Regional Focal Point and specifically for the Steering Committee, the Secretariat and the Regional Coordinator will be developed;
  4. draft Memorandums of Agreements between AU-IBAR and ASARECA, CCARDESA, INRAA and CORAF/WECARD, including budgets, will be produced;
  5. S-RFPs will work on specific activities, for example, on regional cooperation or development of a database/information system such as the one for Southern Africa (LIMS).

The meeting concluded positively with the firm commitment of the Sub-Regional Coordinators through their respective S-RFPs to support the Global Plan of Action and the Genetics project by ensuring sustainable utilization and conservation of Africa's animal genetic resources is achieved.