Animal Health Experts Gather in Kenya to Shape African Agenda for WOAH 91st General Session

Wed, 24-04-2024 15:00:00

From April 23rd to 25th, 2024, animal health experts from some Africa countries have convened in Naivasha, Kenya, for a key meeting aimed at formulating African positions for the upcoming 91st General Session of the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH). Hosted by AU-IBAR, and funded by USDA, this gathering brings together experts in veterinary medicine and animal health policy to address pressing issues facing the continent's livestock and aquatic resources.

The formulation of African positions for the 91st General Session of WOAH holds immense significance for several reasons:

•    By formulating African positions, the continent ensures that its unique challenges, priorities, and perspectives are effectively represented and advocated for on the global stage. This allows African countries to voice their concerns and influence decision-making processes regarding international animal health standards and policies.
•    Africa is home to diverse ecosystems and socio-economic conditions, which necessitate tailored approaches to animal health management. Formulating African positions enables countries to address regional priorities and specific challenges, such as endemic diseases, climate change impacts, and limited resources, in a coordinated manner.
•    The formulation of African positions promotes equity and inclusivity in global animal health governance. By actively participating in the development of international standards, African countries contribute to creating a level playing field where the needs and interests of all regions, regardless of their economic status or resources, are considered.
•    Engaging in the formulation of African positions fosters collaboration and capacity building among African countries. Through sharing knowledge, expertise, and best practices, nations can strengthen their veterinary services, surveillance systems, and response mechanisms, ultimately enhancing their ability to prevent and control animal diseases.
•    Animal health is intricately linked to human well-being, livelihoods, and food security. By advocating for robust animal health standards and practices, African countries protect the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers and pastoralists who rely on livestock for their sustenance and income. Moreover, ensuring the health and welfare of animals contributes to safe and sustainable food production systems.

The agenda over the course of the three days comprises an overview of past WOAH discussions, group discussions to draft African positions on terrestrial and aquatic animal health standards, deliberation of strategic issues including WOAH leadership and representation, review and refinement of draft positions, continuation of formulation sessions and, formulation of positions for the September 2024 Specialist Commission meetings, and concluding with recommendations.