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Communiqué - The Third Executive Committee and Working Group Meeting of the African Apiculture Platform on Honey Production, Bee Health and Pollination Services

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© 2016 AU-IBAR. African Apiculture Platform (AAP) on Honey Production, Bee Health and Pollination Services at New Africa Hotel, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 6th-8th June 2016.© 2016 AU-IBAR. African Apiculture Platform (AAP) on Honey Production, Bee Health and Pollination Services at New Africa Hotel, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 6th-8th June 2016.Background

The Third Executive Committee and Working Group Meeting of the African Apiculture Platform (AAP) on Honey Production, Bee Health and Pollination Services was held from 6th to 8th June at the New Africa Hotel in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. The AAP is the pivotal continental apiculture multi-stakeholder platform (MSP) that brings together sector actors with the goal of elevating the apiculture sector across the continent. Key objectives of the AAP are facilitating collaboration of stakeholders, advocating for an enabling policy framework for the sector, advocating for increased public and private investment, knowledge sharing, capacity development and partnership building.

Facilitated by the African Union-InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), which is mandated to provide leadership in the development of Africa’s animal resources, the AAP draws on the convening power of the African Union to bring key public sector actors i.e.., AU Member States (MS) and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) on to the same forum with private sector, beekeeper associations, non-governmental organizations, and academia and research institutions among other key caucuses. This gives the Platform legitimacy, unprecedented leverage, and a strong mandate for substantive agenda setting, policy reform, decision making and advocacy.

The Executive Committee, a twenty-seven person body representative of the main caucuses in the Platform, is vested with the leadership of the Platform, and executing the decisions and recommendations of the General Assembly. Three permanent expert Working Groups, the Bee Health Working Group, the Production, Marketing and Technologies Working Group, and the Pollination Services and Biodiversity Working Group are mandated to advice the AAP on strategic issues of import to the Platform.

The Meeting was attended by 40 delegates from 21 Member States: Algeria, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The Purpose of the Meeting was to consolidate the work of the Platform for 2016, streamlining the work plans of the EC and WGs in alignment with the decisions and recommendations of the General Assembly, and the specific terms of reference of the organs.

The specific objectives of the meeting were to:

  1. Validate the Executive Committee Annual Plan of Work for 2016-17
  2. Validate the Working Group Annual Plans of Work for 2016-17
  3. Propose the Agenda of the 2016 General Assembly
  4. Outline a sustainability plan for the African Apiculture Platform and national Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MSP’s)
  5. Update the Rules and Procedures of the Executive and familiarize new Executive Committee Members with its provisions
  6. Review the Terms of Reference of the Working Groups to clarify scope, mode of operation and allowable expenditures
  7. Refine the draft Guidelines to Minimize the Potential Impact of Pesticides on Bees in Africa

At the Opening Ceremony the EC Chairperson Prof Serge Niangoran Bakou emphasized the need for commitment from all EC and WG members, and for concerted action to drive the work of the Platform. The speech delivered by Dr. Simplice Nouala Chief Animal Production Officer, AU-IBAR, on the behalf of the Director AU-IBAR reflected on the evolution of the AAP over the last one and a half years and the need to embed modalities for sustainability which requires greater ownership by AAP members pivotal to a vibrant platform that can drive the agenda of the apiculture sector. The Meeting was officially opened by Mrs. Monica Kagya, the Assistant Director Beekeeping Development Tanzania. Due to the short notice, the Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism was unable to attend. The Assistant Director lauded the efforts of AU-IBAR which have raised the status of apiculture on the content, brought actors together, and attracted crucial acknowledgement of the sector at the Member State level. A presentation by Prof Raina Suresh Kumar of icipe, the institution partnering with AU-IBAR on the Bee Health project, highlighted project achievements and the proposed 2nd phase. If funding is secured Project activities will be expanded, including an increase in the number of countries where bee health laboratories will be established.

The Meeting

A presentation by AU-IBAR on issues of harnessing multi-stakeholder platforms for transformation of the apiculture sector prompted reflection on the direction of the AAP, and how it is going about its business in relation to what was envisioned at its inception.

Reflections by Rwanda, Uganda and Cameroun, the first countries to conduct national apiculture trainings and processes to establish or strengthen national MSP’s jointly with AU-IBAR, highlighted differences in country needs, approach and processes, but underscored the importance for adherence to core MSP principles. The experiences will inform the initiative in 22 other countries to be covered this year.

A debate following the presentations raised a number of fundamental issues in relation to the AAP: the need for a greater sense of ownership of the AAPs; the over ambitious plans, which are expanded at each subsequent meeting but with limited commensurate execution and the need to make achievements more visible. Clarifications were made on the structure, tasks and mode of operation of the Secretariat to the AAP, AU-IBAR. It was underscored that the EC is not a Steering Committee to the Bee Health Project, and therefore the need for EC members to distinguish between the remit of the AAP and the Project.

A Presentation made by AU-IBAR on issues related to sustainability of the AAP emphasized demonstrating relevance as key to sustainability as it would attract both stakeholder interest and resources. The presentation preceded a group work session that allowed in-depth discussion on embedding sustainability where the elements of a sustainability framework were identified. Participants acknowledged that the establishment of the national platforms is key to the overall sustainability of the AAP.

Key governance documents were revisited to enhance the work of the Executive Committee and the Working Groups. The Rules of Procedure of the Executive Committee were updated to align it with the latest decisions of the General Assembly. The process was used to familiarize the new EC members with provisions of the document. The Terms of Reference of the Working Groups were expounded to improve clarity on scope of work and key tasks, type of working groups, membership of the working groups, rules of procedure, mode of operation and allowable expenses. The proposals will be submitted for approval of the General Assembly.

All three permanent Working Groups presented their work plans: The meeting recognized the powerful role that the AAP can play in advancing the agenda of the apiculture sector.

  1. The Pollination Services and Biodiversity Working Group workplan focuses on evaluating the status of pollination on the African continent, identification of pollinators and melliferous flora, identification of best practice, assessment of risks and threats, and a plan for awareness raising and sensitization.
  2. The Honey Production, Marketing and Technology Working Group workplan focuses on developing guidelines for AU Member States to increase honey production, marketing and technology use. With key outputs being guidelines for developing a generic framework for bee keeping; recommendations for appropriate marketing models to connect community based beekeepers to national, regional and international traders; and delimiting the range of beehives in Africa.
  3. The Bee Health Working Group: To share and exchange among African countries information and knowledge on the use and effects of pesticides and drugs on bees, bee disease diagnosis, and to harmonize solutions to bee health issues.

The Executive Committee presented its workplan basing it on the priorities laid out at the meeting held in Naivasha Kenya that established the AAP. Activities were identified around objectives to facilitate collaboration and cooperation among bee value chain stakeholders; facilitate policy development; enhance and promote the growth of the sector; facilitate capacity building in the sector; and organizing the activities of the EC.

The Draft Guidelines to Minimize the Potential Impact of Pesticides on Pollinators in Africa was presented at a plenary and critically reviewed in groups. The general finding was that other than a few inputs the document was well drafted and robust.

The meeting outlined proposals for the host country and agenda of the Third African Apiculture Platform General Assembly:

Host country/ venue: Proposals for a host country were pared down to three priority countries: Rwanda, to coincide with ApiExpo Africa; Algeria for crop pollination/ to have a balance of regions; and Senegal to bring the AAP to Western Africa. The final decision will be guided by the policies of the incoming African Union Commission: the other two countries will play host to subsequent AAP meetings.

Meeting agenda: It was proposed and seconded that the meeting focus on Enhancing Inter-regional Trade in Honey and other Bee Hive Products in Africa. The proposed agenda would be well aligned to the theme of ApiExpo Africa 2016, and an appropriate backdrop for the planned exercise of educating members on the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP).

Key Outputs from the Meeting

  1. The Executive Committee Annual plan of work was validated, with recommendations and an action plan included outlining responsibilities and timelines to guide implementation and for accountability
  2. The Working Group annual plans of work were validated, with major recommendations for refinement
  3. The overall topic for the General Assembly 2016 was agreed, options for host countries agreed and a committee tasked to elaborate the Agenda
  4. Elements of the AAP sustainability plan were outlined for further expansion
  5. The Rules and Procedures of the Executive Committee were updated and will be circulated to all EC members
  6. Proposals for clarifying and strengthening the Terms of Reference of the Working Groups were made to be tabled before the General Assembly
  7. The draft Guidelines to Minimize the Potential Impact of Pesticides on Bees and other Pollinators in Africa were reviewed and input given

Key Decisions, Recommendations and Action Points

  1. Executive Committee Annual Plan of Work:
    1. The EC annual plan of work is to be refined by the drafting team in line with the input from the meeting participants: Christian Nawej, Michael Tchana, Jacqui Gowe, Souleymane Pinde and Nagash Bekena
    2. The workplans have budgetary implications therefore resource mobilization is needed: EC Chairperson and selected EC members to develop a resource mobilization plan against the agreed workplan.
  2. Working Group Annual Plans of Work: from the presentations made it is evident that Working Groups can deliver expert outputs that showcase the capacity of the AAP to engage on issues critical to elevating the apiculture sector
    1. The meeting recommended that the Working Groups to further re-focus and make their workplans SMART and actionable, identifying two priority actions each, in line with their reviewed TORs. Plans to include advocacy and dissemination plans; and reduced and rationalized budgets with proposals to make them attractive to development partners. Consultancy work, if any, will be competitive bids open to formal consultancy firms and individual consultants. Chairpersons of the Working Groups to work with the Secretariat to finalize WG workplans
    2. A database on all the apiculture sector experts and leading practitioners in Africa is needed: to be compiled by the EC
  3. Proposals for the Agenda of the 2016 General Assembly
    1. The meeting proposed host countries for the next AAP General Assembly meeting: the priority country is Rwanda, which will host the ApiExpo Africa meeting from 16 – 26 September 2016. Optionally it could be held in Algeria or Senegal for regional balance: AU-IBAR, the Secretariat to confirm the venue
    2. The Agenda of the next General Assembly Meeting: The Theme of the next AAP General Assembly will be ‘Enhancing Inter-African Trade on honey and other Hive Products’. The Secretariat and Trade Working Group to finalize the draft Agenda and send to the EC members by 21 June 2016, and identify experts to deliver the key addresses asap
    3. Facilitation of AAP member participation at ApiExpo Africa to be held in September in Kigali Rwanda: facilitation of AAP member displays in the form of consultations with the Government of Rwanda for duty free importation of apiculture related goods both products and supplies. Bosco Okello to consult and report to the EC and Secretariat.
    4. Education of AAP members on the Comprehensive African Agriculture Program (CAADP): an invitation to be extended to a CAADP expert to conduct a session at the next AAP General Assembly to educate members on the CAADP processes and means to influence CAADP outcomes especially the National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs). AU-IBAR
  4. Sustainability Plan for the African Apiculture Platform: a committee to build on the elements of the sustainability plan identified at the meeting to develop a draft sustainability plan to be presented to the General Assembly. Task force chaired by the EC Chairperson
  5. Multi-stakeholder Platforms for the Apiculture Sectors
    1. Guidelines to be developed for the establishment or strengthening national apiculture multi-stakeholder platforms. A team to prepare the guidelines and by the June 2016 based on a zero draft from AU-IBAR: Willy Mwiza (Rwanda), Michael Njikeu Tchana (Cameroun), Alice Kangave (Uganda), Monica Kagya (Tanzania), aAmssalu Bezabeh Argaw (Ethiopia) and AU-IBAR.
    2. Sharing experiences on the establishment or strengthening of the NAPs: Missions to inaugurate or strengthen national apiculture platforms can include EC and other AAP members to share experiences. AU-IBAR
    3. A paper exploring the need and implications of a legal status for the AAP and the National Apiculture Platforms: For resource mobilization, legal status is necessary for the AAP which cannot fundraise or receive funds otherwise. The legal requirements for the NAPs will vary from one country to the next and the matter should be left to the discretion of Member States. At the next EC and WG working session Uganda (Dickson) to share experiences on how it resolved this matter
    4. Recommendation on establishment of Regional Apiculture Platforms: To discourage the idea of having so many layers, it was recommended that while there were clear merits for establishment of regional apiculture platforms, the process be suspended till the continental and national ones are functional and productive.
  6. Communication and Visibility
    1. Communication strategy for the AAP: a draft for consideration by the General Assembly, with elements for branding the Platform. Uganda (Bosco Okello), Jean Joubouh, Souleymane, Diawara Ibrahima and AU-IBAR
    2. An Africa Apiculture Day: a concept note proposing the Africa Apiculture Day to be simultaneously celebrated across the continent to highlight selected issues to be developed and tabled at the 3rd AAP General Assembly. A team to work on the concept note: Algeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Libya, Burkina Faso and AU-IBAR.
    3. Increase visibility of the Platform: Members of the platform to avail space in their publications for information on the platform:
    4. Revitalize BeeNet as an e-platform for discussion, dialogue and information sharing. AU-IBAR and all
    5. Increased quality coverage of AAP meetings by journalists: inclusion of journalists in the meetings to provide a link to public media. Team to develop a concept note to capacitate a dedicated group of journalists for the apiculture sector. Uganda (Bosco Okello), Jean Joubouh, Souleymane, Diawara Ibrahima and AU-IBAR
  7. Streamlining and making the certification process more accessible: The AAP will consult with the African Ecolabelling Mechanism (AEM), the first Pan African multi-sectoral eco-labelling initiative, to explore the possibility of drafting African standards for honey and other hive products and including a certification procedure under the Eco-Mark label. Taskforce members will be the Executive Committee Chairperson, the Kenya Honey council, the Ethiopia Apiculture Boards, the Arab Beekeepers Association, a trader from each of Western Africa, Central Africa and Southern Africa, facilitated by AU-IBAR.
  8. Wide dissemination of the call for papers for the 2nd Edition of the Bulletin of Animal Health and Animal Production in Africa: The inaugural Special Edition was well received and lauded for the quality of articles, and it was suggested that it should develop into a journal of preference for the sector on the continent. AU-IBAR will be releasing an announcement calling for submission of abstracts for the 2nd Special Edition on Honey Bees. AU-IBAR to widely publish the call for abstracts.

Next Steps

  1. The Communique refined and circulated by 13th June 2016
  2. The Meeting Report circulated by 30th June 2016

Closing Remarks

At the close of the Meeting, the EC Chair expressed satisfaction with the deliberations, decisions taken and recommendations made which gave clear direction to the EC and WGs. He thanked AU-IBAR organizing the meeting, and the Republic of Tanzania for accepting to host the meeting. He enjoined all EC and WG members to implement agreed actions with commitment. Dr. Simplice Nouala, Chief Animal Production Officer AU-IBAR, in representing the Director AU-IBAR, underscored the importance of the meeting. He highlighted the need to implement agreed actions, and reiterated AU-IBAR’s commitment as an equal partner in developing the apiculture sector. He invited Nairobi based members to regularly visit the Project at AU-IBAR. The Meeting was officially closed by Mrs. Monica Kagya, the Assistant Director Beekeeping Development Tanzania who congratulated all participants for concrete outputs and a clear way forward.

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Communiqué - The Third Executive Committee and Working Group Meeting of the African Apiculture Platform on Honey Production, Bee Health and Pollination Services
Date 2016-07-04 Language  English Filesize 216.26 KB