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Enhancement of Early Warning Systems for Food Safety in Eastern Africa

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Final Communique

© 2014 AU-IBAR. Participants during FAO/AU-IBAR Technical Workshop Nairobi, 27 - 31 October, 2014.© 2014 AU-IBAR. Participants during FAO/AU-IBAR Technical Workshop Nairobi, 27 - 31 October, 2014.FAO/AU-IBAR Technical Workshop. Nairobi, 27 - 31 October, 2014. The workshop on "Enhancement of Early Warning Systems for Food Safety in Eastern Africa", jointly organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) took place at the JACARANDA hotel in Nairobi from 27 to 31 October, 2014.

Experts in food, agriculture, public and veterinary health from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania Uganda, Makarere University, Nairobi University as well as representatives from IGAD, AU-IBAR, AU- PACA , OIE, ILRI, WB, WHO, and FAO participated in the meeting. The workshop was organized with the technical support and participation of experts from Cranfield University (UK) and the Institute of Coastal Health in Canada.

The meeting was officially opened by Dr. Murithi Mbabu, representing the State Department of Livestock of Kenya followed by remarks from Dr. Raphael Coly, from AU-IBAR and Mr. Robert Alport, on behalfthe FAO Representative in Kenya.

Following the decision of the African Union Commission to establish the African Union Food Safety Management Coordination Mechanism and Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), FAO and AU-IBAR are cooperating with other international organizations to support country and regional capacities aimed at effective implementation of the AU decisions.

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Launch of the African Reference Laboratory for Bee Health at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe)

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© 2014 icipe/flick. African Reference Laboratory for Bee Health.© 2014 icipe/flick. African Reference Laboratory for Bee Health.Nairobi, Kenya. Monday 3 November, 2014. Scientists in a new, world-class laboratory in Kenya will work to protect Africa's bees and help farmers produce top-quality honey and wax for international markets. Located at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Nairobi, Kenya, it will improve our understanding of these unique creatures and boost food security by protecting these important pollinators.

Launched today at an event attended by Ambassadors, High Commissioners, government officials and dignitaries from Africa, Europe and around the world, the African Reference Laboratory for Bee Health is the centrepiece of a three-year project funded by the European Union in Kenya worth Kshs 1.7 billion (€14.7 million). It was constructed with the support of icipe's core donors: The German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Government of Kenya, the Swedish International Development Cooperation (Sida), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and UK Aid.

In Africa and worldwide, bees are crucial for agriculture and the environment. More than 70% of the world's major crops rely on bee pollination to produce fruits and seeds. Bees also provide much-needed extra income for smallholder farmers, who sell honey, wax and other products.

However, honeybee populations across the world are struggling to overcome attacks from parasites such as the varroa mite and infection with diseases, as well as the dreaded Colony Collapse Disorder that has decimated bee populations in the USA and parts of Europe. The laboratory will endeavour to understand and prevent these problems from taking hold in Africa.

"Bees and other pollinators are significant contributors to food security and ecosystem health. Bees improve the environment and they do not prey on any other species. Aside from crops, bees also pollinate grasses and forage plants, therefore contributing indirectly to meat and milk production," said Dr Segenet Kelemu, Director General and CEO of icipe.

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Communique - Strengthening Regional Capacities on the management of Animal Genetic Resources: General Assembly of the Sub-Regional Focal Point (S-RFP) for Southern Africa

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© 2014 Morula Creations. Group Photo.© 2014 Morula Creations. Group Photo.23 - 25 October 2014, Faircity Mapungubwe Hotel Apartments – Johannesburg, South Africa.

Introduction

1. The African Union – Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) in collaboration with CCARDESA (Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research Development for Southern Africa) organized a workshop from 23rd – 25th October 2014, focusing on Strengthening Regional Capacities on the management of Animal Genetic Resources: General Assembly of the Sub-Regional Focal Point (S-RFP) for Southern Africa.

2. The workshop was organized 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".

3. The aim of the workshop was to facilitate the convening of a General Assembly (GA) for the substantive establishment of the Sub-Regional Focal Point for Animal Genetic Resources (AnGR) in Southern Africa, as a way of enhancing the management of AnGR through better regional coordination and networking. Specifically, the GA was organised to give the region, an opportunity to:

  • Validate the proposed governance structure and Terms of Reference for the Steering Committee for the S-RFP for Southern Africa;
  • Conduct the election of members of the Steering Committee;
  • Propose mechanisms for the sustainability of the S-RPF;
  • Introduce discussions on the adequacy of existing policies and regulatory frameworks on the use of AnGR in Southern Africa;
  • Initiate discussions on the development of national and regional guidelines for the formulation and harmonization of policies for crossbreeding and in situ and ex situ conservation;
  • Engage in discussions on procedures for the operation of regional gene bank(s);
  • Discuss the preliminary results of the consultancy for the establishment of the African Animal Genetic Resources Information System (AAGRIS).

4. The meeting was attended by representatives (comprised mainly of AnGR National Coordinators) from 13 Southern Africa Member States, Regional Economic Communities (COMESA), Sub-Regional Research Organizations (CCARDESA), International Research Institutions (ILRI), Civil Society and non-state Organizations (SACAU, Heifer International), Universities (Sokoine University of Agriculture), Livestock Registrars (Botswana and South Africa), National Research Centres (South Africa Agricultural Research Council – Animal Production Institute) and consultants.

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Strengthening capacities on the genetic resources management in Central Africa and the West

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In the framework of the implementation of two initiatives that are, the AU-IBAR Genetics project "Strengthening the Capacity of African Countries and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation of African Animal Genetic Resources" and the technical cooperation project between the Regional Office of FAO and AU-IBAR "Assistance for a Regional Initiative on Animal Genetic Resources in Africa" was held in the premises of CEBEVIRHA in N'Djamena, Chad from 28 to 30 August 2014, a regional workshop on "Strengthening capacities on the genetic resources management in Central Africa and the West".

The workshop registered the attendance of national coordinators of animal genetic resources, the focal points for the AU-IBAR project genetics from West and Central Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Chad and Togo), representatives of sub-regional, regional and international institutions (CEBEVIRHA, ECCAS, CIRDES, CORAF/WECARD, FAO, ITC/WALIC and AU-IBAR). The main objective was to strengthen the capacity of the sub-regional focal point (S-RFP) for West and Central Africa to improve the management of animal genetic resources through better coordination and networking.

More specifically, the workshop aimed to:

  • Assess the progress made in the implementation of the activities of the SRFP since the last meeting in Libreville in 2011;
  • Agree on the most desirable institutional set-up considering the progress assessed, the present institutional environment in West and in Central Africa
  • Agree/confirm the geographical coverage of the S-RFP or otherwise decide;
  • Select institution(s) to host the secretariat of the S-RFP(s);
  • Elect Steering committee(s) for the S-RFP(s);
  • Propose a mechanism for the sustainability of S-RPF(s) beyond projects support.
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Together Against Rabies

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World Rabies Day message: A joint AU-IBAR, FAO-RAF and OIE-RR/AF

[Nairobi, Accra, Bamako. 25.09.2014] – With World Rabies Day 2014 less than a week away, the Directors and Senior Animal Health Officers of the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), the African representations of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) today are making a joint appeal to Chief Veterinary Officers of the 54 member states in Africa to mobilise for the fight against rabies, one of the most deadly zoonotic diseases in Africa.

Rabies is a disease of dogs and other mammals, which when transmitted to man through bites and other routes, leads to an excruciatingly painful condition, almost always followed by death. Rabies especially affects children in developing countries, with Africa being the worst hit. In countries where people are still dying from the disease, dogs are the main vectors of the rabies virus, the causative agent. In spite of the availability of safe and effective vaccines against rabies and successful measures for controlling the disease, the incidence of rabies has been increasing throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa.

World Rabies Day is being facilitated by the international charity, the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, and the global series of events will culminate on September 28 – World Rabies Day. This year's theme is 'Together against Rabies'. Working together helps safeguard people and animals against rabies.

"Rabies though fatal, is preventable and can be defeated. By standing 'Together Against Rabies', we are not only helping our communities here in Africa, but we are also safeguarding human beings around the world. To eliminate this disease, Veterinary Services of AU member states must be in the front line of the battle and ensure a sustained vaccination and promotion of responsible ownership of dogs. I am, therefore, calling for a concerted effort in controlling this very important and widely-distributed zoonosis across the continent" ,says Professor Ahmed El Sawalhy, Director of AU-IBAR, who also strongly advocates for joining hands with public health authorities in tackling the disease.

Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant-Director General and Regional Representative for Africa points out: "more than 95% of human and livestock cases are due to bites by infected dogs. It is therefore unacceptable in these modern days that so many people, especially children, still die from this disease when the vaccination of dogs is a simple and cost-effective way of controlling rabies in dogs and protecting our children and our livestock."

The aim of World Rabies Day's theme, 'Together Against Rabies', is to bring all stakeholders together to work towards the common goal of eliminating the disease. According to Professor Louis Nel, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, "We can save the lives of tens of thousands of people who die every year from rabies by raising awareness and taking the correct preventive measures. Rabies is a global problem that will only be solved if we all stand 'Together Against Rabies'."

Dr. Yacouba Samaké, OIE Regional Representative for Africa echoes this appeal in stating that: "veterinary services, together with public health services in Africa, play a crucial role in the eradication of this dreadful disease. Every one of the 69,000 annual casualties could have been avoided. This is roughly one person every seven minutes. I would like to see this disease eradicated from the continent for the sake of future generations."