The Standard Methods and Procedures in Animal Health (SMP-AH) is a project being implemented by AU-IBAR in partnership with Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and nine countries in the IGAD region with financial support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The project underpins coordination and harmonisation of Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs) prevention and control in the region in order to promote regional and international trade in livestock and livestock products. The intention of the program is to standardize procedures for detection of and response to specified trade‐significant TADs, in line with OIE standards, so that the animal and human health status of the importing countries is protected.
Livestock trade is currently constrained by differing animal health requirements amongst the Horn of Africa countries, uncoordinated disease surveillance and control programs, and unjustified livestock trade bans by importing countries. Clear, standardized procedures for disease control programming in exporting nations and for entry of livestock into importing nations removes barriers and obstacles, stabilizes and facilitates trade, reduces probability of capricious decision making, and builds confidence between exporters and importers.
The SMP Concept
1. Goals of SMP program:
- safe, stabilized trade that leads to safe, stabilized livelihoods all along the value chain;
- facilitate trade within and between Regional Economic Communities (RECs);
- facilitate regionally coordinated disease control programs;
- support ability to do surveillance and epidemiology that clearly determines outbreak areas;
- provide a basis for uniform and unified SPS for livestock trade;
- eliminate any reason for bans on export livestock from the region;
- provide strengthened bargaining power with importers.
2. The SMP program design:
- a region-wide umbrella program for animal health and animal disease prevention and control;
- agreed upon by both exporting and importing nations;
- subscribed to by all concerned parties;
- multiple nations cooperate for uniformity;
- focused on trade-related TADs;
- executed according to OIE recommendations;
- facilitates trade in livestock and livestock products;
- use for local, intra-regional, inter-regional, and intercontinental trade.
3. The SMP approach:
- framework for uniform surveillance, epidemiology, disease prevention and control, laboratory procedures and test interpretation, quarantine procedures, and more;
- flexible to fit changing situations, scientific advances, disease dynamics, emerging diseases, etc;
- tailored to deal with relevant trade-related TAD diseases, but can be used for not only TADs but for production and/or zoonotic diseases as well;
- can accept different approaches by different Departments of Veterinary Services;
- works with OIE recommendations as the base.
4. SMP Harmonization of Animal Health Programs:
- regional coordination in disease control program design - national DVSs work with same program goals;
- cooperation/coordination for disease control field operations planning and implementation;
- allowance for different approaches to the same disease control goal as per the OIE Terrestrial Code SPS & Judgment of Equivalence;
- SPS basis for trading bloc negotiations.