The project is generally on track towards achieving its objectives as outlined in the project document. The project provides the various stakeholders and beneficiaries with opportunities to gain valuable experience and expertise in the effective management of animal genetic resources. The project which has entered the implementation phase has so far made some significant strides. For example, the project has promoted and presented a strong position of African countries on issues relating to AnGR. The timely submission of Country Reports by African countries was highly commendable. Africa’s submissions represented a third of all the reports that fed into the preparation of the Second State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources Report. Africa indeed left a “strong genetic footprint” on the Second State of the World’s AnGR report.
Issues of policies and legislation were discussed at the various stakeholder workshops. Existing policies, legislative and regulatory frameworks were highlighted and some gaps and potential interventions were identified. This will contribute to the creation of enabling environments for the management of animal genetic resources in African countries. Some national gene banks across Africa were assessed and proposed to serve as regional gene banks. The project has initiated the assessment of the legal environment for the exchange and movement of animal genetic materials as well as stock-taking of the challenges and constraints in the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in African countries since its ratification. The Project worked in conjunction with Member States to establish Sub-regional Focal Points (S-RFPs) for AnGR in all five regions of the continent. To ensure ownership, relevance and sustainability, the S-RFPs are anchored in existing Sub-Regional Research and Development Organizations.
Other achievements included the stablished a regional Network and Community of Practice for information sharing, lessons learning and coordination of AnGR initiatives on the continent; initiatives to harmonize AnGR tools including identification of suitable characterization, inventory and monitoring tools for use within the continent; establishment of an AnGR Taxonomy Advisory Group for Africa and production of revised characterization, inventory and monitoring tools’ guidelines tailored to suit the continent’s peculiarities and uniqueness. The African Animal Genetic Resources Information System (AAGRIS) hosted as a module within ARIS2 is envisioned as a “one-stop-shop” for AnGR that will allow a wide range of end-users, particularly policy makers, to access knowledge, information and data as robust evidence to inform decision-making processes, especially on policies and legislation. AAGRIS will also raise awareness and promote best practice in management of AnGR on the continent.
Result Area 1: The Status and trends of AnGR in Africa established
1. Establish the state of AnGR in Africa to identify threatened breeds and breeds at risk of extinction.
Development of the African AnGR Report for a Better Informed and Cohesive Continental AnGR Agenda
During the first year, emphasis was on providing support to MS to prepare Country Reports as contribution to the 2nd SoW-AnGR Report. As a result, 44 countries submitted their Country Reports.
During the reporting period, activities implemented focused on preparing the publication of the State of Animal Genetic Resources in Africa as the first ever publication that will serve as a reference material for the management of AnGR in Africa. The Table of Content was developed and validated by stakeholders on the continent. Data and information have been compiled from Country Reports and other sources and requests for missing information sent to MS.
A catalogue of cattle breeds has been drafted in collaboration with ILRI and will be published as a “Coffee table book”. Information is being compiled for the production of a comprehensive catalogue that will showcase other African livestock species.
The project has introduced “The Animal of the Month” on the AU-IBAR website which highlights the key attributes of a particular breed/type/variety of animal, fish or bee to raise awareness and increase knowledge on the diversity and importance of these genetic resources in Africa. The various monthly exhibits will be compiled and published.
2. Inventory and assessment of existing policies and regulations on the use of animal genetic resources including genetic improvement of livestock in Africa.
Initiated during the first year of the project, the inventory and analysis of Policies and Strategies related to AnGR has been completed and validated by stakeholders in East, Central, West, North and Southern Africa. In general the inventories show that only a few countries on the continent (for example, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa and Mali) have policies and legislations specifically formulated and designed for the management of AnGR. Most of the policies and regulations on the continent relate to controls of imports and exports of AnGR due to risk of disease, particularly transboundary animal diseases. Policies and legislation in some countries are outdated and need to be updated or are in draft form. There are no recorded policies and legislation addressing crossbreeding or transboundary breeds’ issues on the continent.
3. Assessment of the genetic impact of livestock production systems (i.e. intensification systems with utilization of. exotic breeds), and movements of animal populations (linked to transhumance and commercialization) on local/indigenous AnGR resource base
The assessment of the impact of crossbreeding and livestock mobility has been initiated in Central and East Africa.
This assessment highlights the impact of crossbreeding on AnGR resource base in Africa, the impact of mobility (linked to commercialisation, production systems) on AnGR management and identifies lessons learnt and best practices in crossbreeding and mobility of AnGR in Africa.
4. Assessment of local breeds selection and breeding programs impact on animal genetic diversity and socio-economic status in Africa
The assessment of the socio-economic impact of selection and breeding programs has been initiated and will identify the key selection and breeding programmes in the regions to be supported by the project. This will focus primarily on transboundary breeds.
Result Area 2: Policy frameworks for the sustainable use of AnGR developed
1. Develop national, regional and continental guidelines for the formulation and harmonization of crossbreeding policies
An “issues” paper on crossbreeding, conservation and the management of transboundary AnGR in Africa has been drafted and will be used to initiate stakeholder’s consultations to identify key issues to be included in the regional policy and legislative frameworks on crossbreeding.
2. Develop technical standards and protocols (including property rights and benefits sharing) for the exchange and use of genetic materials
Based on the discussions with the Department of Science and technology of the AU on the African Union Strategic Guidelines for the Coordinated Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation endorsed by the AMCEN in March 2015, an expert’s consultation was organized to discuss issues specific to animal genetic resources and the transfer of genetic material. Following this consultation an assessment is on-going on: the legal environment for the exchange and movement of animal genetic material on the continent that will culminate in the development of technical standards, legislation or regulatory requirements for the exchange and movement of genetic materials. Regional action plans for Southern Africa have been developed and a committee has been established to liaise with ABS National Focal Points and AnGR National Focal Points in all the AU Members States (including those that have ratified the Nagoya Protocol) on the African submission in response to the CGRFA notification of 31st January 2013 on voluntary codes of conduct, guidelines and best practices, and/ or standards in relation to access and benefit-sharing for all subsectors of genetic resources for food and agriculture.
The Project has initiated the process of piloting of Bio-cultural Community Protocols in pastoral areas of West Africa and will explore the opportunities for expansion on the continent including providing guidelines for such processes.
Result Area 3: Supporting and strengthening national and regional conservation and improvement strategies and initiatives
1. Support Member States to establish and implement their National Action Plan for Animal Genetic Resources within their livestock policy
During the previous period, the mapping of status of countries with National Action Plans was conducted. Following this stocktaking exercise, activities implemented during the reporting period focused on strengthening the capacity to develop NAPs and mainstream AnGR in the NAIPs through the CAADP country processes. The approach also encompassed the development of criteria for the different stakeholders to be supported by the project; including the Member States and RECs.
2. Support Member States to establish or strengthen their national breeding and conservation strategies as part of their National Action Plan for Animal Genetic Resources
During the reporting period, the Djallonké sheep breeding program based on an open nucleus breeding scheme in Togo was assessed to obtain an in-depth understanding of the challenges of the selection programme. Calls for proposals have been drafted and will identify other selection programmes to be supported.
3. Support the development of regional (REC based) conservation policy and strategic frameworks for trans-boundary breeds and populations that are at risk
The inventory of policies and legislation at Member States level for Southern (SADC) and Eastern Africa (EAC and IGAD) will guide the approach to support REC-based initiatives on transboundary breeds.
4. Support the establishment of regional facility (ies) for ex situ conservation, in particular cryogenic storage and gene banks on AnGR
During the previous period, the assessment of a number of national gene banks across Africa was initiated and the initial recommendations were presented and discussed during the General Assemblies and the Steering Committee Meetings when Sub-Regional Focal Point across Africa for the management of animal genetic resources were established.
The assessments continued in North Africa (Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia). The RECs have been officially informed of the outcomes of the assessments and meetings of directors of animal production in various regions are planned to formally endorse the choice of the facilities to be upgraded to regional gene banks. This formal endorsement will signify ownership and enhance sustainability of these facilities post-project. The project visited AU-PANVAC in Debre Zeit in Ethiopia to determine the level of investment required to enable the institute to host the continental back-up gene bank for conservation of AnGR materials for Africa. The project has initiated the development and harmonization of legal instruments (Material Acquisition Agreement - MAA and Material Transfer Agreement - MTA).
5. Support the establishment and strengthening of national and regional livestock breeders’ associations
The project received various requests for support from breeders associations in some Member States. However, to ensure transparency and fairness in the award of support, the project developed selection criteria to enhance the targeting of different categories of associations for increased impact, effectiveness and efficiency and launched "Calls for proposals” which will lead to awards of grants to these associations.
Result Area 4: Increasing knowledge, attitude and practice of the contribution of livestock and livestock sector to economic growth, food security and poverty reduction
1. Develop harmonized tools (protocols) for characterization and inventory of AnGR
Following consultations with stakeholders though an e-discussion and experts workshops, establishment of suitable characterization, inventory and monitoring tools for use within the continent, an Animal Genetic Resources Taxonomy Advisory Group (AnGR-TAG) was established and conducted the revision of existing tools to ensure suitability to African conditions and development of revised tools guidelines for characterization, inventory and monitoring. The piloting of the revised tools to test their efficiency, practicability and adaptability has been initiated in 15 selected countries from all the regions of Africa.
2. Establishment of AnGR database
A module on animal genetic resources has been created in ARIS2 and will be known as the African Animal Genetic Resources Information System (AAGRIS). To engender wide ownership and utilization of AAGRIS and to enhance its design and functionality, a comprehensive needs assessment on AnGR data and information requirements by various stakeholders was undertaken and priority data and information needs identified. Six core data and information categories were identified including; Species and breeds, Inventory and monitoring, Conservation and breed improvement programmes, Capacity development, AnGR Institutions and News trends. The proposed structure of the module has been developed and is a combination of a data collection and web portal systems with linkages to already existing information systems such as DAD-IS and DAGRIS.
3. Establish and strengthen national and regional systems for monitoring of trends of breeds and associated risks
The project working in collaboration with experts from all the regions of Africa is developing tools for characterization, inventory and monitoring of trends and associated risks. The piloting of the tool is planned in 15 countries and once the tool has been validated, systems for monitoring of trends will be developed and utilized by key stakeholders, including Member States, livestock keepers, universities and researchers.
4. Develop regional networks for information sharing
Consultations were conducted with partners to promote synergies and a platform for communication and building partnerships for the management of AnGR.
As part of networking initiatives, the establishment of the regional DAD-Net for the five Sub-Regional Focal Points has been finalized. To-date DAD-Net West Africa, DAD-Net Central Africa, DAD-Net Eastern Africa, DAD-Net Northern Africa and DAD-Net Southern Africa are operational under the moderation of the Secretariats of the different Sub-Regional Focal Points and AU-IBAR.
5. Establish or strengthen regional focal points for animal genetic resources
Working in close collaboration with Member States and RECs, the Sub-Regional Focal Points (S-RFPs) for AnGR in Southern and Eastern Africa were established.
S-RFPs for West, Central and Northern Africa were established through the organisation of General Assemblies and establishment of Steering committees in these regions. As part of the financial support to be provided to the S-RFPs, a strategy including modalities, criteria, budget and process was agreed to.
The S-RFPs together with the project ensured that Africa adopted a united approach with common positions during the Eighth Session of the Inter-governmental Technical Working Group (ITWG) and the Global National Coordinator’s Workshop on AnGR in November 2014 in Rome, Italy. This was highly commended by FAO and other participants to the Session.
6. Document and disseminate best practices and lessons learnt from animal genetic conservation and improvement initiatives
The project has actively disseminated information through the AU-IBAR and partners’ websites, African DAD-Nets and international workshops.
The project has launched the publication of a Special December 2015 Edition of the Bulletin of Animal Health and Production in Africa (BAHPA) to commemorate and highlight the importance of animal genetic resources in Africa. So far 40 Abstracts of original work on topics related to animal genetic resources in Africa have been received.
Communication and Visibility
The project is currently implementing its Communication Strategy.
Publication and production of visibility and communication materials conducted. Visibility materials including roll-ups, T-shirts, bags, flash-disks, pens, notebooks, mousepads and folders were produced and distributed to donors and some stakeholders. This has enabled the branding of the project.
Sustainability of project interventions is often considered during design as a necessity to ensure continued flow of benefits to the target communities beyond external support. In the case of the Genetic Project, and as evident in the project focus and strategy, the sustainability of the project initiatives was adequately inbuilt in the design through key strategies that include:
- Engagement of local stakeholders during the inception phase and implementation of the proposed project’s activities that will ensure a strong sense of ownership for project actions and goals among them, and to prepare them for the responsibility of continuing to implement activities after the project has ended.
- The outcomes fitting the global strategy of conservation and utilization of animal genetic resources and other global and regional legal instruments ratified by all the countries in the project areas.
The development of the project exit strategy was initiated that takes into account the targeted beneficiaries needs and governments capacity. This strategy will be jointly agreed and implemented by the partners. The overall objective of the Exit Strategy is to provide the beneficiaries and all other stakeholders with strategies and tools for smooth and effective transfer of the project results. The strategy includes an implementation plan (results and resources framework) and a provision for identification of lessons leant and best practices in the management of AnGR in Africa, in terms of policy and institutional arrangements and capacity building; Conservation; sustainable use and characterization, inventory and monitoring.
- Animal Genetics Project Regional Inception Workshop Report. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso 6 - 9 November 2013
- Animal Genetics Project Regional Inception Workshop Report. Kigali, Rwanda 20 - 22 November 2013
- Animal Genetics Project Regional Inception Workshop Report. Gaborone, Botswana 26 - 27 November 2013
- Project team retreat. Nairobi 8 - 10 January 2014
- Report of the facilitation workshop on the preparation of the second state of the world’s animal genetic resources (SOW-AnGR). Naivasha, Kenya 28 - 31 January 2014
- Partner’s roundtable meeting report. Kampala, Uganda 6 March 2014
- Project Implementing Partners Meeting. Kampala, Uganda 7 March 2014
- Sub‐Regional Focal Point Workshop for Southern Africa. Harare, Zimbabwe 1 April 2014
- Regional Inception and Sub-Regional Focal Point Workshop Report for North Africa. Algiers, Algeria 9 - 10 June 2014
- Report on the meeting of the Secretariats of Sub-Regional Focal Points. Nairobi, Kenya 15 - 16 July 2014
- Synthesis report of the AnGR e-discussion “Improving the utilization of Animal Genetic Resources characterization, inventory and monitoring tools in Africa” 17 July - 31 August 2014
- Report on the meeting of the Interim Steering Committee of the Sub-Regional Focal Point for East Africa. Nairobi, Kenya 1 August 2014
- Project Report Year 1: Strengthening the Capacity of African Countries to Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of African Animal Genetic Resources. July 2013 – June 2014
- Regional workshop for “Strengthening the capacities for the management of animal genetic resources in central and west Africa”. N’Djamena, Chad 28 - 30 August 2014
- Rapport de l’Atelier Régional sur le Renforcement des Capacités sur la Gestion des Ressources Zoogénétiques en Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre. N’Djaména, Tchad 28 - 30 Août 2014
- Workshop report “Assessment of animal genetic resources characterization, inventory and monitoring tools to guide revision and harmonization processes”. Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania 25 - 27 September 2014
- General Assembly of the Sub-Regional Focal Point for Southern Africa. Johannesburg, South Africa 23 - 25 October 2014
- Regional Workshop for the Strengthening of Capacities for the Management of Animal Genetic Resources in Eastern Africa. Kampala, Uganda 11 - 12 December 2014
- Workshop report Finalization on operational structure of the African Animal Genetic Resources Information System (AAGRIS). Nairobi, Kenya 15 – 16 January 2015
- Regional Workshop for the Strengthening of Capacities for the Management of Animal Genetic Resources in Northern Africa. Tunis, Tunisia 2 - 3 February 2015
- Atelier régional sur le renforcement des capacités pour la gestion des ressources zoogénétiques en Afrique du Nord. Tunis, Tunisie 2 - 3 Février 2015
- Experts Consultation Meeting on “The movement and exchange of animal genetic materials and implementation of the Nagoya protocol on ABS in Africa”. Cotonou, Benin 20 - 22 April 2015
- Write shop report “Development of revised and harmonized characterization, inventory and monitoring animal genetic resources tools’ guidelines” Naivasha, Kenya 14 - 17 April 2015
- Flyers on the project “Strengthening the Capacity of African Countries to Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of African Animal Genetic Resources”
- Communication and Visibility Plan for the Project Strengthening the Capacity of African Countries to Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of African Animal Genetic Resources
- Establishment of an Animal Genetic Resources Information System (AAGRIS) Stakeholder Needs Assessment Final Report
- African Animal Genetic Resources Information System (AAGRIS) brochure
- Regional Animal Gene banks for Africa: A strategy to ensure the sustainability and efficient maintenance of important animal genetic resources brochure