From 11th to 12th May 2016, the African Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) jointly with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) organized the “Livestock Technical Committee (LTC) meeting on the establishment of the Regional gene bank and on the host Sub-Regional Focal Point (S-RFP) for animal genetic resources (AnGR) in Southern Africa”.
The meeting held in Gaborone, Botswana brought together the members of the Livestock Technical Committee represented by the Directors of Veterinary Services and the Directors of Animal Production (from Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe), other stakeholders of the LTC (ILRI “International Livestock Research Institute”, OIE “World Animal Health Organization” and BVI “Botswana Vaccine Institute”); the Steering Committee members of the S-RFP for AnGR in Southern Africa (Botswana, Malawi and Zimbabwe) and its Secretariat CCARDESA (Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa), the Non-State actors (Heifer International) and AU-IBAR.
From the 2-day deliberations, after listening to various communications and discussions in group works and plenary sessions, the meeting concluded on the following outcomes and recommendations:
- On the hosting of the Sub-Regional Focal Point (S-RFP) for animal genetic resources (AnGR) in Southern Africa”, the meeting:
- Confirmed the choice made earlier and endorsed by the LTC, to have CCARDESA as the Secretariat for the S-RFP,
- Agreed that SADC Secretariat (FANR: Food, agriculture and nature resources) should engage CCARDESA and AU-IBAR by mid-June 2016, to resolve issues that are hampering the already agreed arrangement. In case there is no agreement, the resolution of this present meeting should be tabled at the next LTC meeting,
- Agreed as a sustainability mechanism that, the primary role of the Secretariat of the S-RFP (CCARDESA) should be sourcing of resources in collaboration with the SADC secretariat. CCARDESA will coordinate the activities of Regional and National Focal Points for AnGR.
- On the establishment of the Regional gene bank, the meeting
- Endorsed the choice of the Botswana DAR (Department of Agriculture Research) to host the Regional Genebank for Southern Africa region. The process of endorsement at ministerial level should follow the normal SADC procedures.
- Recommended that the “Biotechnology center” in Zambia could serve as a back-up for the regional Genebank. For that, AU-IBAR should assess the facilities in the Biotechnology center
- Proposed sustainable mechanism including the provision of a small liquid nitrogen plant,
- Proposed for the Regional Animal Genebank, to learn from the SPGRC’s (SADC Plants Genetic resources center) funding mechanism and the status of ex-situ conservation of forage resources
- Suggested to seek international support through fora such as the ITWG (Intergovernmental Technical Working Group) meetings.
The genetics project shared updates on the development of the Standard operating procedures and the operation of a virtual genebank. The finalized documents will be shared with participants. The meeting proposed the organization of a Symposium on AnGR facilitated by AU-IBAR.
On the IRCM (Integrated regional coordination mechanism) and SMP-AH (Standard methods and procedures in animal health) projects, the participants were provided updates on the projects’ content, coverage, budget, implementation strategy and way forward. The meeting proposed SADC Secretariat to follow up CVOs (Chief veterinary officers) to provide feedback and contributions by June 15th, 2016, to allow the Secretariat to start the process for submission respectively to African Development Bank and USAID (United States Aid).
In conclusion the participants extend their sincere thanks to the Government of the Republic of Botswana, AU-IBAR and SADC for the warm welcome and the well organization of the meeting, as well as they congratulate Botswana and Zambia for their nomination to host respectively the Regional Gene bank and the back-up regional genebank for Southern Africa region.