Once again it is that time of the year when we meet to share a few merry moments together while reflecting on the events of the past year and on what the future holds for our organization. You will agree with me that 2010 has been an eventful year for us, owing to a number of significant events that took place. We had a number of successes and challenges throughout the year, but as we come to the close of the year, it is of no doubt that working together as a team we surmounted the challenges and achieved success. It is for this reason that right from the onset I would like to sincerely thank each and every one of you, without exception, for your individual efforts and the commitment that you rendered to our institution. Without that contribution from each one of you we would not have been where we are today.
During the year 2010 we set out to launch our strategic plan for the period 2010 to 2014, which was endorsed in Entebbe, Uganda in May by the African Ministers responsible for Animal Resources during their 8th conference. As you are all aware, this strategic plan is different from the previous ones as it brings with it new approaches, which include the clustering of our work into six strategic programmes, which necessitated the engagement of the services of team leaders to spearhead the implementation of the strategic plan, and the holding of the first meeting of the AU-IBAR Advisory Committee, again in Entebbe Uganda in the same month of May, in conformity with the Maputo Decisions of 2003.
During this year we also achieved a number of successes in the implementation of the various projects in our institution. These included the successful closure of the SPINAP project, the SERECU II project the AfDB project and two initiatives on Climate change and natural resources management. We stepped up the implementation of other projects, including LEISOM, VACNADA, and Livestock for Livelihoods.
Under the PANSPSO project, we successfully initiated the implementation of activities through the Regional Economic Communities. During the year we successfully organized two meetings of the governance structure of ALive. We also organized the 35th ISCTRC Executive Committee meeting that endorsed the action plan proposed by AU-IBAR to strengthen the ISCTRC.
Another significant achievement of the year included the carrying out of the assessment of the RECs in partnership with the WHO, OIE and FAO, with a view to establishing the Integrated Regional Coordination Mechanism (IRCM), through which we will be partnering with the RECs in implementing our programmes.
We also made significant progress in the development of the Veterinary Governance Project, which is expected to be one of our biggest projects for the next five years. Proceeding at the rate we are now, we should get the project up and running by June 2011.
To ensure the successful implementation of our programmes, we embarked on formulating a monitoring and evaluation framework, which will enable us effectively implement our programmes under the strategic plan. I am happy to note that both the M&E Framework and the Planning and Procedures Manual (PPM) are ready for implementation.
Furthermore, to improve our working environment we successfully upgraded our conferencing facilities, converting our main conference room to a state-of-the art facility.
We also embarked on enhancing control of access to our premises by installing modern access equipment, CCTV Cameras and enhancing the security system in general, which we are still working to enhance even further.
In partnership with our service providers, we also set up a travel office with BCD Travel to facilitate travel arrangements. We also successfully, negotiated for better banking services with some selected banks, which will, among other facilities, culminate in the setting up of a Banking agency within our offices.
All these facilities are meant to relieve us from worrying about the services and dedicate more time to delivering on our core mandate.
Finally, we successfully underwent an institutional four pillar assessment carried out by Ernst and Young on behalf of the European Union. The objective of the assessment was to ascertain whether or not AU-IBAR had the capacity to implement programmes using international standards and best practices. Again, it is no longer a secret that not only was this assessment a success, but we also achieved better results than a number of other African Union institutions that have undergone similar assessments. The implication of this achievement is that we might be able to utilize EU funds using easier and more flexible procedures, thereby expediting implementation of projects. This will greatly assist in the implementation of projects such as the VETGOV.
Dear Colleagues, these are only some of the achievements we attained during the year 2010. There are many others, too numerous to mention in these few minutes. However, all these achievements were not without challenges.
We faced challenges in implementing some of our projects due to delays in acquiring the requisite logistics to start activities, late disbursement of funds, lengthy procedures in getting some of the implementing partners on board just to mention a few. Nonetheless, we all pooled our efforts together to ensure that these challenges were overcome.
Colleagues, in light of this state of affairs, 2011 is not likely to be an easy year for us. Our focus in the coming year should be increased efforts in resource mobilisation, refining our operational and implementational capacities and strengthening the relationships we have created with partners. We must, therefore, brace ourselves for times of real hard work and sacrifice. For the sake of our continent we must not entertain thoughts of sinking, but marshal all efforts, strengths and resources for success, which, with the grace of God, will be attained.
Dear colleagues as 2011 is the year for the celebration of the global eradication of rinderpest, let me take this opportunity to sincerely thank all our previous colleagues who since 1951 have spent endless days to ensure that the eradication of disease from the continent. With hard work and perseverance, we can eradicate other disease with less resources based on the lessons leant and capacities developed through the rinderpest eradication process.
Finally let me thank our development partners for their financial support and tremendous goodwill.
As we enter the festive period, please use the time to rest with your families. But also remember to reflect on more innovative strategies for ensuring success in our organization in the year 2011.
Keep safe, we still need you in 2011.
I wish you all a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year 2011.
I thank you.
It is a real honour and great pleasure to share the news of my appointment as the new Director of AU-IBAR. I want to express my thanks, in the first place, to the leadership of the African Union Commission for the chance to lead AU-IBAR and to assure that the contribution of Animal Resources will further benefit the development and wellbeing of Africa and its people. Given the economic and cultural importance of livestock for the continent, this represents indeed a very important responsibility.
Leading an organisation with a history of so many outstanding achievements is, without any doubt, a challenge of the highest order. AU-IBAR owes a lot to my predecessors; they have built a stable and solid organisation, making it an important contributor to African development. I hope to continue the excellent work of the past with the same vigour and insights in IBAR's mandate of my predecessors. I will draw on their experience whenever I have the chance.
I also recognise the importance of the many IBAR partners, the RECs as our direct partners in African development and the veterinary services on the continent, which, I hope, will continue to share their knowledge and insights as they have done in the past. Our cooperation has gone from strength to strength and I promise that I will do everything possible to continue this positive trend.
The donors, and specifically the European Commission, who has been a reliable partner for the last 45 years, USAID, the United Nations and our bilateral supporters have been instrumental in making AU-IBAR the institution it is today. Without their continued support AU-IBAR would not have advanced as it did. In the new environment of international cooperation, I guarantee you that IBAR will play its role as a reliable partner, eager to take up the leading role you expect us to play.
I also look forward to further strengthen the relationships with our technical partners OIE, FAO, the World Bank, WTO, ILRI and many others. I am sure that our long-term cooperation will continue to flourish and that we, from the strength of our respective mandates, will enhance the contribution of animal resources to the economy of the continent. I look enthusiastically forward to deepen our cooperation in the ALive platform and the Regional Animal Health Centres and to strengthen our cooperation to facilitate trade within Africa and between Africa and the rest of the world.
AU-IBAR's role and challenges for the future continue to grow; climate change and its dire consequences for our vulnerable populations, the food crisis putting a lot of pressure on the continent's poor and enhancing Africa's role in international trade are just a few of the challenges ahead. However, with the excellent team at my disposal, I am confident that IBAR will only increase its role to overcome the challenges and turn some of them into opportunities for a more prosperous future for the continent.
I humbly ask all of you to continue your relationship with IBAR as only strong partnerships and hard work will guide us towards achieving our goals.
Ahmed El-Sawalhy is the ninth person to be appointed by the DREA as Director of its specialized technical office. He is currently serving a first, three-year term as Director of African Union – Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR).
Prof. Ahmed El-Sawalhy was born in Sharkia, a provincial capital in Egypt's Delta region in February 1959. After graduating from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagazig University (1982), he was awarded his Master's Degree in Veterinary Infectious Diseases in 1987. His education was rounded with a PhD in Animal Trypanosomiasis from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, USA). From 1993 onwards, he pursued studies and research in Egypt during which he published more than 35 scientific publications in national and international journals. His dedication to education is mirrored in his two books in which complex veterinary materials, especially on infectious diseases, is transmitted in simple form to students and field veterinarians. Besides having made several publications, he founded and supervised the first bilingual (Arabic and English) website for the most important infectious diseases in Egypt.
Prof. El-Sawalhy has made about 26 contributions to scientific conference (National and International) and was a focal point in funded projects on animal health issues and enhancing veterinary infectious diseases education and training in Egypt. As a member of numerous committees in Egypt, he has been active in community service (workshops, field trips) and in teaching and evaluation. He has an impeccable professional history that very much reflects his academic profile: As Head of Department of Internal Medicine, Infectious diseases and Fish Diseases at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Mansoura University, he structured this department, which today follows the curriculum implemented at that time. Simultaneously, he directed the university's Veterinary Education Hospital. Some of the honors he has received include State Award in Veterinary Sciences (2000), the Award in Cattle Diseases from the Scientific Research and Technology Academy (dedicated to the late professor Ahmed Farid) and the prestigious Award of the Animal Insurance Fund (2004, Ministry of Agriculture Egypt). In addition to this, he obtained the Mansoura University Award in Veterinary Sciences in 2001.
Wishing to support continental animal health and production initiatives in Africa, Prof. El-Sawalhy was appointed Chief Animal Health Officer to AU-IBAR in Nairobi, Kenya in July 2006 and became the Acting Director in March 2008. He was on 1st May 2009 appointed Director, AU-IBAR.
With his vast experience and the new responsibility, he hopes to promote, coordinate and strengthen AU-IBAR's capacity to improve livestock and food security in Africa.