Under the framework of the implementation of the Project "Strengthening the Capacity of African Countries to Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of African Animal Genetic Resources" the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) in collaboration with the African Union – Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) organized a workshop to convene the 4th General Assembly and the Steering Committee meeting of the Sub-Regional Focal Point (S-RFP) for the management of animal genetic resources (AnGR) in Southern Africa from 9th - 11th October, 2017, in Quatre Bornes, Mauritius. The project is being implemented with the support from the European Union and the African Union Commission. The project aims at facilitating and fast tracking the implementation of the Global Plan of Action (GPA) for sustainable use of AnGR in Africa.
The meeting was attended by 34 participants representing SADC stakeholders involved in AnGR management, comprising mainly National Coordinators from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia; representatives of: COMESA, SADC, AU-IBAR, CCARDESA, ILRI, University of Stellenbosch, Tuli Cattle Breeders Society of Zimbabwe, Heifer International and Livestock Registrar and Studbook of Botswana and South Africa, respectively.
The meeting was officially opened by the Honourable Minister of Agro-industry and Food Security for Mauritius, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun who indicated that although Mauritius was dependent on food imports, the country was doing its part to protect its genetic resources and requested technical assistance from AU-IBAR to assist the country tackle some challenges, including combating and prevention of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and conserving indigenous AnGR. Representatives of SADC, COMESA and AU-IBAR also gave welcoming remarks. Discussions during the General Assembly focused on: (a). Progress update on the implementation of the Genetics Project; (b). Progress update on the Work Plan and regional priorities for the region for 2017-2018; (c). Update on the work of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture; (d). Opportunities and threats posed by the demand for donkey products; and (e). Updates on the progress made by Members States on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for AnGR.
The main recommendations of the General Assembly included to: undertake follow up by the SADC Secretariat on the administrative arrangements of the regional gene bank; prioritize and fast-track the development of a regional AnGR resource mobilization strategy for the sustainability of the Sub-Regional Focal Point; enhance sharing of available information by stakeholders on various outputs to enable informed decision-making on AnGR; increase awareness creation and advocacy on the contribution of local AnGR; organize regional capacity building activities on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) and intellectual property rights (IPR); urgently undertake studies on the threats faced by donkeys in the region to ensure their sustainable utilization and conservation.
The 4th General Assembly meeting for AnGR for Southern Africa was highly successful and participants expressed their appreciation to Mauritius for hosting this event.