Building Blocks for Agricultural Sustainability at the SoW-AnGR Meeting

Tue, 11-06-2024 15:00:00

AU-IBAR recently organised a meeting in Naivasha, Kenya, with the objective of enhancing the conservation and utilisation of animal genetic resources (AnGR) throughout Africa. From May 21 to 23, 2024, the Third State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Report (SoW-AnGR) was the focus of the event, which brought together representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and stakeholders from twenty African Member States.

AnGR plays a multifaceted role in sustaining human livelihoods, encompassing aspects of food security, economic development, and poverty alleviation. Recognizing its paramount significance, AU-IBAR, in close collaboration with FAO, extended technical and financial support to assist African Member States in crafting and submitting their Country Reports for the forthcoming SoW-AnGR Report.

The gathering witnessed active participation from twenty-one National Coordinators and one Alternate Coordinator, representing a diverse spectrum of African nations including Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe, among others. Alongside AU-IBAR and FAO delegates, a consultant facilitated the proceedings.
The objectives of the meeting were ambitious yet crucial, aiming to provide technical support to Member States in the meticulous preparation of their Country Reports on AnGR, thereby contributing substantively to the forthcoming global assessment.

Throughout the event, a series of insightful presentations and interactive sessions unfolded:
1.    Welcoming Remarks: Dr. Mary Mbole-Kariuki, representing the Director of AU-IBAR, Dr. Salih Huyam, extended a warm welcome to the participants, setting the tone for collaborative endeavors.
2.    FAO's Presentation: FAO elucidated on the status of the Third SoW-AnGR Report's preparation, emphasizing the pivotal role of reliable data. The Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS) and the questionnaire used for data collection were spotlighted.
3.    Challenges and Solutions: National Coordinators shared the challenges encountered during data entry and proposed innovative solutions to surmount them.
4.    Hands-On Assistance: Participants were provided with hands-on support to input data into the questionnaire, with clarifications offered on explanatory notes. Significant progress was noted, with completion rates soaring beyond initial estimates.
5.    Regional Meeting Highlights: A dedicated session for National Coordinators underscored the importance of collaboration, leveraging available tools and resources, and exploring financing and implementation strategies.
6.    Webinar by ILRI: The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) conducted an illuminating webinar, showcasing advancements in AnGR and digital technologies empowering farmers towards sustainable utilization and conservation.

By the conclusion of the meeting, remarkable strides had been made. The completion of the questionnaire surged to over 80%, reflecting the collective dedication of all stakeholders. With all twenty represented countries committed to validating and submitting their Country Reports by the stipulated deadline of 30 June 2024, the stage is set for Africa to make a substantive contribution to the global assessment of AnGR.

The event not only exemplified the spirit of collaboration and collective action but also underscored AU-IBAR's unwavering commitment to advancing the sustainable management of animal genetic resources across the African continent. As Africa charts its course towards agricultural sustainability and resilience, initiatives like these serve as beacons of hope, steering the continent towards a brighter, more prosperous future.