AU-IBAR is hosting the 12th meeting of the Directors of Veterinary Services and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Delegates from 3-5 May 2021. The online discussion has brought together over 50 delegates from around Africa to deliberate and agree on draft OIE standards to prepare for the 88th General Session of the World Assembly of Delegates of the OIE.
The General Assembly will be held from 24-29 May 2021 to adopt several new inter-governmental standards. The standards cover animal disease control methods, including those for controlling diseases transmissible to humans, the safety of international trade in animals and animal products, and animal welfare.
During the official opening of the meeting, Mr. Talal Kishlaf, Officer in Charge-AU-IBAR, took cognisant of the interconnected nature of animal health and trade. Mr. Kishlaf remarked that 'the meeting comes at an opportune time when the AU Member States are working hard to utilize the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).' He further highlighted that the significance of animal resources to national economies, thus justifying trade in animals and animal products as one of the leading export earners in the AfCFTA.
To position the sector to benefit from the AfCFTA, Mr. Kishlaf observed the need for continued work between AU-IBAR, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and Partners to support the Member States with practical tools and interventions to optimize participation in the AfCFTA and global markets. He further proposed the following interventions:
(i) Sustained collaborative efforts on standardizing the entire value and supply chains to ensure transparency, predictability, and safe trade,
(ii) Work towards the mutual recognition of regulatory and sanitary controls to increase efficiency and reduce trading costs in the AfCFTA, and
(iii) Enhance the productive capacity to enable: diversification of production and the export base, competitiveness, manufacture of high-value products, and integration into regional and global value chains.
The agenda also includes three other critical items during the 3-day meeting.
• Presentations and discussions of the overview of Standards proposed for adoption at the 88th Annual General Session of the World Assembly of National Delegates to the OIE.
• Discussion and input from the Member States on lessons learned from the pandemic and how OIE can support Veterinary Services achieve One Health Resilience
• Update of animal health and welfare activities being undertaken at AU-IBAR. These include discussion and validation of the implementation program for the Animal Health Strategy for Africa (AHSA); Discussion and confirmation of the report on the mapping of animal health actors and their intervention areas; and Discussion and validation of the report on mapping and assessment of national and regional livestock policy hubs/ platforms.
The deliberations will strengthen the African Positions for the 88th Annual General Session of the World Assembly of National Delegates to the OIE. Still, the deliberations will also enhance harmonisation and coordination for implementation of crucial Livestock Policies, Legal and Investment Frameworks, such as the Animal Health Strategy for Africa (AHSA) and the Livestock Development Strategy for Africa (LiDeSA).
Among the delegates present at the meeting include Dr. Honoré N’Lemba Mabela, President of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa and Chief Director, Animal Production and Health, Democratic Republic of Congo; Dr. Obadiah Nyaga Njagi Director of Veterinary Services of Kenya; Dr. Botlhe Michael Modisane Chief Director, Animal Production and Health of South Africa; Directors of Veterinary Services, Chief Veterinary Officers and OIE Delegates; Representatives of Regional Economic Communities; Members of the AU-IBAR Animal Health Expert Group and staff.
The meeting is being held under the Pan-African Support to the AU-IBAR for a Sustainable Development of Livestock for Livelihoods in Africa (Live2Africa). Live2Africa is funded by the European Union.
Picture: meeting of the Directors of Veterinary Services and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Delegates held at AU-IBAR in 2016.