The 7th experience sharing workshop on Sanitary Regulations and Enforcement was jointly held by the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources and the Pan African Parliament (PAP) from 27th to 29th September 2018 in Banjul, Republic of The Gambia. The workshop was chaired by Hon Aurelien Simplice Kongbelet Zingas from Central Africa Republic on behalf of the President of PAP and was moderated by Hon El Hadj Issa Azizou, PANAF Coordinator at PAP.
The workshop was opened by Hon. Momodou L. K. Sanneh, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of The Gambia who underscored the importance of the animal resource sector to Africa’s agricultural transformative agenda and the critical role sanitary measures play in promoting public and animal health and the facilitation of international trade. The Hon. Deputy Speaker assured participants of African Union Member States’ commitment to support the commercialization of the sector for the socio-economic development and wellbeing of Africans. Dr. Baboucarr Jaw, Chief Animal Health Officer, on behalf of the Director of AU-IBAR, and the Representative of President of PAP also presented their statements and recommitted to supporting the establishment and strengthening of institutional structures, policies and legal frameworks to promote animal resource development in Africa. The workshop was attended by member of PAP’s Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, other Parliamentarians, staff from AU-IBAR and the Secretariat of PAP.
The objectives of the workshop were to:
- create awareness amongst the members of PAP and other Parliamentarians on AU-IBAR Programmes on animal resources and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) issues relevant for Africa.
- articulate the oversight role of Members of PAP and other Parliamentarians on SPS issues and their tracking using Monitoring and Evaluation system.
The broad conclusions of the workshop are:
In Relation to the First Sub-Theme "Introduction to AU-IBAR Programmes and Application of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement"
- Key to enhancing the oversight role of Members of Parliament on sanitary issues in Africa is the continuous sharing of information and awareness creation on animal resource programmes and their corresponding SPS issues being implemented at the continental, RECs and national levels to enable improved tracking and advocacy.
- It is imperative to strengthen animal health delivery systems and national food control systems across the continent to assure public health, animal health and welfare and to facilitate intra-regional trade especially within the context of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
- Significant successes have been made at the continental level in coordinating African Union Member States to develop the African Common Voice on draft international standards on animal health and food safety and their articulation at the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) respectively, and on Specific Trade Concerns on sanitary and phytosanitary measures implemented by Trading Partners. However, there is need to improve national coordination mechanisms and ensure inclusive national consultations and stakeholder engagement during the development of national positions on draft OIE, Codex standards and WTO SPS Committee issues.
- Key to the transparency principle of the WTO Agreement on the application of SPS measures is the requirement for members of the WTO to notify their new or changed SPS regulations that may have significant effect on trade. It is therefore imperative for African Union Member States to improve their notification status in fulfilment of their obligations on the transparency principle.
Concerning the Second Sub-Theme "Animal Health Issues in Africa"
- Effective management of animal health issues in Africa requires a multisectoral and interdisciplinary coordination approach. In this regard, the "One Health Approach" concept should be rigorously pursued, institutionalized and supported at the national, RECs and continental level through the development and implementation of appropriate policies and legal frameworks, provision of funding by national governments and awareness creation among policy makers.
- Zoonoses, emerging and re-emerging diseases are major public health threats and constraint to animal production, trade and marketing in Africa. These diseases undermine all the benefits of rearing animals, by affecting populations who rely on animal rearing as a source of their livelihoods and by deepening food and nutrition insecurity. Key to overcoming disease threats, existing production and trade obstacles in the animal resource sector is ensuring that member states, RECs and continental structures are well resourced and can support the delivery of effective and efficient animal health services.
- Animals are sentient beings and that animal welfare and human wellbeing are closely linked. Animal welfare is increasingly a global concern hence African Governments have a crucial role to protect and safeguard animal welfare including wildlife through the domestication of the Animal Welfare Strategy for Africa (AWSA), and the development and effective implementation of national and regional policy and legal frameworks in the African context.
- Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a complex global public and animal health issue. If AMR is left uncontrolled, the world would face a situation of increased deaths from infections that were previously easy to treat, hence urgent action is needed. Strong government leadership and collaboration across the various sectors within a country and among countries is required. Mitigating and containing the spread of AMR will also require changes in policy and practice across multiple sectors.
- One of the most pressing constraint contributing to many African countries’ inability to exploit the opportunities presented by the growing demand for animal resources is the dearth of appropriate policies, strategies and legislations. In order to exploit the opportunities in the animal resource sector, appropriate policies, strategies and legislations and measures to ensure their compliance are needed at continental, regional and national levels to enable smallholder animal producers connect to high value markets and remain globally competitive.
- In this perspective, Parliamentarians can play a pivotal oversight role in addressing policy gaps and divergence, developing appropriate legal frameworks, advocating for resources to implement policies and legislation and monitoring and evaluating the outcomes of policies and legislations.
With Respect to the Third Sub-Theme "SPS Issues to be Tracked by Parliamentarians Using Monitoring and Evaluation System"
- Monitoring the implementation of policies and legal frameworks on sanitary issues and evaluation of their impact ensures transparency and accountability on SPS interventions and is of extreme importance in the protection of public and animal health. In this regard, a robust monitoring and evaluation system should be developed and implemented in all African Union Member States to enable the tracking of the implementation and impact of SPS regulations.
- In this regard, there is need to build the capacity of African Union Member States in the collection of reliable data and data processing to enhance monitoring of the outcomes of policies and legal frameworks on sanitary issues and for evidence-based decision making.
As a result the Banjul workshop on sanitary regulations and enforcement:
- Encourages the Pan African Parliament and Regional Parliaments to ensure coherence of policies and legislations and the domestication of legal frameworks on animal health at the regional and national levels.
- Encourages the Pan African Parliament and Regional Parliaments to support RECs to coordinate the update and harmonization of legal frameworks in Member States and advocate for their implementation and accountability.
- Urges the Pan African Parliament to support the formulation and monitoring of legal frameworks for continental strategies such as the Livestock Development Strategy for Africa (LiDeSA), Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa (PFRS), and the Animal Health Strategy for Africa.
- Reaffirms the commitment of Pan African Parliament to support evidence-based advocacy for increased public and private sector investment in animal health delivery system and food control systems in African Union Member States.
- Calls on the Pan African Parliament to advocate for African Union Member States to fulfil their commitment of contributing 10% of their budget to agriculture.
- Recognize the importance of the role of the Pan African Parliament which represent the Voice of Africa, and should take its full place in the development, implementation and monitoring of SPS measures in Africa.
- Calls on Parliamentarians to advocate for veterinary authorities to facilitate inclusive national discussions on country priorities on veterinary services using the OIE Performance of Veterinary Service (PVS), PVS Gap Analysis and Veterinary legislation Identification Mission. This will facilitate the quantification of investment and mobilization of resources required to improve the performance of veterinary service.
- Encourages Parliamentarians to use the outcome of Veterinary Legislation and Identification Mission Status of the OIE as guidance to modernize national veterinary legislation for improved compliance with animal health standards. In this regard, Parliamentarians should be actively engaged in National Livestock Policy Hubs to promote integration of stakeholders’ concerns and priorities during policy development.
- Calls on Parliamentarians to advocate for resources for the implementation of national commitments on global initiatives; including control and eradication of Peste des Petit Ruminant (PPR) and dog mediated humanRabies; Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), Animal Welfare and standard setting.
- Commends AU-IBAR’s commitment to continue engaging and sharing information on sanitary issues with Parliamentarians to build their capacities to enable them ensure their oversight role on sanitary issues in member states.
- Recommends that the joint AU-IBAR-PAP experience sharing initiative on SPS be extended to include the joint engagement with the Executive and Legislature to enable seamless collaboration and support for SPS issues in Africa.
- Recommends the development of a monitoring and evaluation system with relevant AU Organs and institutions to track the progress of implementation and impact of SPS interventions in Africa.
- Concludes by expressing the deepest appreciation to the Government, The Head of State and the People of The Gambia, Members of PAP and Parliamentarian, PAP Secretariat and AU-IBAR for the excellent manner in which the workshop was arranged and for the kind and generous hospitality accorded to all.