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Result 3: National and regional conservation and improvement strategies and initiatives strengthened or established

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In order to successfully conduct genetic improvement initiatives in the region as an economically viable industry in the future, result 3 is proposing technical and financial support to national and regional initiatives. Great importance will be given to collaboration among breeding institutions, research organizations, and large enterprises from the regions and abroad to build up strategic alliances to share resources, and to achieve synergies in the common development of AnGR. Under this result the following activities are envisaged:

Activity 1. Support Member States to establish and implement their National Action Plan for Animal Genetic Resources within their livestock policy.

Using guidelines and policy frameworks developed under result area 2 above, countries will be assisted to develop their National Action Plan for Animal Genetic Resources, including related budgets, investment and financing plans.

The project will also support meetings of livestock policy hubs established in the framework of the "Reinforcing Veterinary Governance in Africa" project, to mainstream these actions into the livestock priorities for consideration into the national agricultural investment plan.

Activity 2. Support Member States to establish or strengthen their national breeding and conservation strategies as part of their National Action Plan for Animal Genetic Resources.

This activity will complement activity 1 above and will address in particular conservation strategies. The establishment of the conservation strategy is a critical and sensitive part of the National action Plan elaboration process. The main risk of failure for conservation strategy is related to their implementation cost which is generally high and not compensated with short term return on investments. Involvement and buy-in of stakeholders, livestock keepers in particular, are essential. However, the whole burden of conservation cannot be supported by the private sector alone, and genetic diversity being a public good, the public sector must dedicate resources as well, in particular to generate incentives for private actors involved in conservation activities. Based on agreed workplan the project will provide a subvention to MS for the implementation of activities with high leverage effect either to attract more public and investment or to generate resources for the implementation of other activities within the action plan

Activity 3. Support the development of regional conservation policy and strategic frameworks for transboundary breeds and populations that are at risk.

Animal genetic resources in Africa, especially in pastoral areas, are by essence transboundary. The Somali sheep is for instance found in at least 4 countries in the Horn of Africa, the Ankole cattle breed is found in all countries surrounding the Rift Albert and its lake, the N'dama cattle breed in West Africa is found in all tsetse infested areas and countries,. It is therefore, impractical to consider the conservation of such breeds, only at national level. RECs will have to play their harmonization and coordination roles to ensure that national strategies are compatible and pursue the same goal. Regional policy frameworks will be established to ensure that harmonization and coordination are properly addressed.

Activity 4. Support the establishment of regional facility(ies) for ex situ conservation, in particular cryogenic storage and establish a gene bank on AnGR.

In situ conservation is essential but needs to be supported by ex-situ conservation strategies. Ex-situ conservation is relatively simple to implement (compared with in-situ conservation programmes) but are costly (cost of liquid nitrogen for conservation, cost of production of semen and embryos). Investment in conservation facilities and running costs can easily be reduced by mutualising the financial burden, through establishment of regional or sub-regional conservation facilities.

The project will, through this activity, technically and financially support the establishment of gene bank(s).

The first step will be to assess existing facilities on the continent so as to identify those with high potentials to be upgraded to regional facility. 05 facilities will then selected in each region and strengthen as regional gene bank for AnGR.

Activity 5. Support the establishment and strengthening of national and regional livestock breeders' associations.

Past experiences, in Africa or outside the continent, in breeding and/or breed conservation programmes, indicate the necessity of anchoring these interventions to stakeholders' organizations and in particular farmers' organizations.

In order to play their role adequately in the breeding and conservation domains, these organizations need to be strengthened and their capacities related to management of genetic resources improved. The project will support the establishment of regional breeders association and support their operations through its live spam. An exit strategy to sustain these associations beyond the project will be designed at implemented by the 4th year.
South-south exchanges between farmers organizations involved in breeding/conservation activities will be used as a sensitization and capacity building tool.