28th and 29th March 2013
At the invitation of the Economic Community Of West African States ECOWAS Commission, in partnership with the African Union - Inter-bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), a regional meeting of the World Organization for Animal Health OIE delegates to develop common positions on OIE animal health standards was held in Abuja, Nigeria on the 28th - 29th March2013.
Member States represented at the meeting included ECOWAS OIE delegates from the following states :
- Burkina Faso
- Côte d'Ivoire
- The Gambia
- Guinea Bissau
The meeting was also attended by staff from the African Union - Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and the ECOWAS Commission.
Objectives of the Meeting
The Workshop was aimed at reviewing the reports of the scientific and code commissions, as well as those of the ad hoc working groups of the OIE, and in particular changes to the codes proposed by the technical group of Chief Veterinary Officers CVOs and animal health experts, to be submitted to the African OIE delegates in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire in April and the OIE General Session in May 2013.
The specific objectives include:
- To identify areas of priority and common interest for the ECOWAS region.
- To analyze the rationale, justification, consequences, as well as the technicalinstitutional, legal, and commercial impact of the proposed amendments to the code.
- To propose common positions for the ECOWAS region on these proposed amendments.
Three remarks were delivered:
Dr Joseph NYAGER, the Chief Veterinary Officer/OIE Delegate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, welcomed participants to the meeting and expressed satisfaction with the efforts of AU-IBAR and the ECOWAS Commission in facilitating coordinated responses to the OIE Codes in particular, and advancing the issues of standards in general. He stated that standards are important for trade in livestock and livestock products, and that therefore the importance of the meeting could not be overemphasized. He invited participants to enjoy the beautiful city of Abuja.
Dr Raphael COLY, the Continental Coordinator of the Project Participation of African nations in Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standard-Setting Organizations PAN-SPSO project, representing the Director of AU-IBAR, in his statement thanked the President of the ECOWAS Commission, H. E. Kadire Desire Ouedraogo for enabling a fruitful partnership with the Commission on livestock issues. He further stated that a main challenge of African nations' participation was the inadequacy of available skills and technology to generate the science-based arguments needed for the development of standards. He opined that effective participation requires an ability to contribute meaningfully to standards setting, and therefore this meeting aimed at elaborating a consultative process, which will improve the quality of participation and relevance of Member States (MS) at the continental and international meetings. He reiterated that ECOWAS was the first regional economic community (REC) to start this consultative process in collaboration with AU-IBAR, and that this example will be replicated in other RECs, informing that the region indeed had one of her own; the CVO/OIE Delegate of The Gambia is a member of the technical committee who reviewed the codes, and this is part of the skills building that will add value to the region. Dr. Coly encouraged delegates to resuscitate the National Sanitary and Phytosanitary Committees (NSPC) in MSs that were established to consolidate internal consultations and consensus building by stakeholders, further encouraging written comments on OIE proposed changes.
Dr. Johnson BOANUH, the ECOWAS Director of Environment, representing the Hon. Commissioner of Agriculture, Environment, and Water Resources, welcomed delegates noting the effective collaboration between AU-IBAR and the Commission on livestock issues, particularly on sanitary standards. He stated that this collaboration started with the PAN-SPSO 1 project, which success gave rise to PAN-SPSO II with the support of the EU. Dr. Boanuh explained that the meeting aimed at reviewing OIE scientific, ad hoc, and code commissions with a view to identify and analyze the rationale, justification, and the impact of such changes on trade in the region. The meeting was to further strengthening of the regions' say in international standards setting, as well as encouraging the development of a pool of expertise on standards setting in the region.
Dr. Boanuh reiterated the importance of standards in developing the livestock value chain, stating that this will not only enhance trade but the support the production of healthy and wholesome foods for ECOWAS citizens. Dr. Boanuh then wished participants fruitful deliberations and declared the workshop opened.
The OIE Delegates reviewed and made some comments on the OIE documents that they will share with other colleagues during the continental meeting of OIE Delegates in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire on 14th and 15th April 2013.