The 3rd steering committee meeting for the SMP-AH project was held in Kampala, Uganda on 3rd June 20114 with the main aim of provide guidance on the overall direction of the project to achieve its desired goal and to facilitate synergies and complementarities with the related STSD project-whose 1st Steering Committee meeting was held back-to-back.
The meeting was chaired by the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission, H.E. Mrs Rhoda Peace Tumusiime. In attendance were representatives of key stakeholders with a stake in the surveillance, prevention and control of trade-related TADs and trade in livestock and livestock products. AU-IBAR and its partner organisations, including, IGAD, USAID, OIE, FAO and ILRI were fully represented. In addition, the Livestock traders' Association, North Eastern African Livestock Council (NEALCO) was in attendance. As well, Member states, including, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda were represented. The meeting was graced with the presence of Hon. Bright Rwamirama, Minister of State for Animal Industry in Uganda.
It was noted that with guidance from Members of the Steering Committee the SMP-AH project had made significant progress, with accomplishment in the following key activities:
- Development of the Standard Methods and Procedures for the Control of the nine priority trade-related TADs and for Quarantine stations. SMPs are at validation stage and to be released soon for routine implementation.
- Veterinary staff from the GHoA had been trained in Management skills development, Surveillance and epidemiology, and in Quarantine procedures and practices;
- Country Activity plans and M&E frameworks had been developed and were under implementation;
- Strategic documents for the livestock commodity association-NEALCO had been developed; and
- Suitable options for livestock identification and traceability in pastoral systems had been identified.
As a take home message, the Commissioner, called for promotion of integration in the region and better prioritization of livestock in Member Countries.
Similarly, the minister noted that whereas the Pan-African approach adopted by AU-IBAR was laudable, he wondered how AU-IBAR sustained success after projects had ended. It was a common observation that everything collapsed as soon as the projects ended. It was noted that the livestock sector was not getting enough funding, despite CAADP. He recommended the need for AU-IBAR to work closely with public and private institution for advocacy and cost-benefit analysis to attract attention to funding in the sector. Alternatively, programmes such as quarantine stations at border posts could be promoted through AU-IBAR prompting Member States and RECs through follow-up on successful campaigns. He further recommended improved communication to farmers and other grass-root stakeholders through appropriate means. He remarked that for example the syndromic manual produced the SMP-AH project could be better promoted at the grass-root using film vans to ensure the publication reached farmers.
Finally, the Meeting recommended the following:
- Include Livestock Farmers' representation in PSC meetings
- Improve communications to grass-root stakeholders through appropriate means e.g. audio and visual means
- AU-IBAR and IGAD to manage success through prompting and rigorous follow-up of Member States
- Estimate the cost of implementation of SMP manuals at Country level for sustainability
- Establish a network for quarantines