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Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan further strengthen cross-border collaboration and coordination of animal health programs within the Karamoja cluster

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© 2015 AU-IBAR. Participants at the Trilateral Cross-border Meeting for Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan at Moroto, Uganda, 16th to 18th June 2015.© 2015 AU-IBAR. Participants at the Trilateral Cross-border Meeting for Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan at Moroto, Uganda, 16th to 18th June 2015.Recognizing the challenges facing inhabitants of the “Karamoja Cluster”, Kenya and Uganda negotiated and signed a “Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)” in 2013. The cross border animal health initiative was intended to encompass and synchronize animal health legislation and policy enforcement interventions undertaken in a coordinated manner. As a common practice, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan normally, cooperate and collaborate in various activities within the frameworks of the treaties that established the EAC and IGAD. To further develop the MoU for Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan to strengthen cross-border collaboration and coordination of animal health programs within the Karamoja cluster, AU-IBAR in partnership with IGAD/ICPALD and FAO organized a cross-border meeting for Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan at Moroto from 16th to 18th June 2015 under the auspices of the Standard Methods and procedures in Animal Health project. The meeting attracted 42 participants from Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, AU-IBAR, IGAD/ICPALD, FAO Uganda, FAO Kenya, FAO South Sudan, FAO-ECTAD, ACTED, VSF Belgium, Dan Church AID and Caritas Uganda.

In his welcome remarks, Dr Solomon Munyua, Acting Director of the IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) pointed that people in cross-border areas in the Karamoja cluster depended on livestock for their livelihood, a fact that justified putting a human face on the strategies outlined in the MoU. He advised MS to embrace other resources in the Arid and Semi-arid lands in addition to livestock, and encouraged the MS to domesticate the MoU with legal language applicable to respective countries.

In his opening remarks, on behalf of the Director of African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources – Prof. Ahmed Elsawalhy, Dr Joseph Magona thanked ICPALD, FAO and Uganda Government for their participation in organizing the workshop. He stated implementing the Standard Methods and Procedures in Animal Health project in the region was intended to support harmonization and coordination of the control of trade-related transboundary animal diseases (TADs). The project had in the recent past organized regional cross-border meetings to strengthen collaboration between countries regarding disease surveillance, information sharing, disease control and regional cooperation. He recognized efforts made by IGAD and FAO in 2013 that led to development of the MoU between Uganda and Kenya to improve disease control and conflict resolution in cross-border areas along the Uganda-Kenya border. He further recognized recent efforts made under SMPAH project together with partners that initiated development of the MoU between Kenya and Ethiopia along their common border. He concluded by stressing that the cross-border meeting for Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan was intended to enhance cross-border coordination among Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan, especially regarding control of TADs within the Karamoja cluster.

© 2015 AU-IBAR. Mr. Mark Aol, the Chairperson, Local Council Five (LCV) for Moroto District© 2015 AU-IBAR. Mr. Mark Aol, the Chairperson, Local Council Five (LCV) for Moroto DistrictIn his opening remarks, Dr. Massimo Castiello, the Deputy Representative, FAO Uganda stressed the importance of such cross-border meetings, especially in the control of TADs that cause negative impact on animal health and devastating social economic effects on livestock keeping community. He stressed the need to control zoonoses within pastoral communities and major TADs such as FMD, PPR and brucellosis that cause untold negative impact on livestock trade. He further pointed out the necessity of regional collaborative and collective efforts in strengthening strategies and control measures for such TADs, while re-affirming the readiness by FAO to provide its support.

In his opening remarks, on behalf of the Director Veterinary Services (DVS), Kenya, Dr Mbabu Muriithi re-affirmed Kenya’s commitment to the MoU and its associated benefits, especially strengthening regional harmonization of TADs control. He, however, cautioned MS and partners to truck progress of implementation of agreed strategies to ensure sustainability and recommended extension of activities in different countries beyond the cross-border areas during implementation of the MoU. He called upon Governments of Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan to secure adequate funding for the activities to supplement efforts by development partners and regional organizations.

In his opening remarks, on behalf of the Director-General of Veterinary Services of South Sudan, Dr George Kamillo Lado, thanked organizers for inviting South Sudan to the meeting. He re-affirmed South Sudan’s readiness to participate in the cross-border initiative despite the limited resources and insecurity. He noted that seven ecological zones of South Sudan with the largest number of livestock were affected by enormous disease outbreaks. He stated the Governmemnt of South Sudan in partnership with FAO was preoccupied with implementing intervention to control the diseases. He finally re-affirmed the commitment by Governmemnt of South Sudan to contribute to such regional initiatives and work together with other countries within the region to address challenges to livestock development.

In his opening remarks, Dr Nicholas Kauta, Director Animal Resources, Uganda welcomed members. He stated that the meeting followed previous meetings, field visits and emphasised the importance of such a multilateral regional meetings aimed at dismantling institutional barriers. He stressed the fact that institutional barriers often caused failures that are very expensive. He further pointed out the need for all Parties to ensure everything was done with a positive attitude. Finally he thanked all parties concerned and Governments for their contributions and support towards the organizing of the meeting.

In his opening remarks, the Resident District Commission (RDC), Moroto stressed the need for regional solidarity and integration for sustainable implementation of strategies. He called on livestock experts to address the problem of tick-borne diseases within the Karamoja cluster.

In his official opening, Mr. Mark Aol, the Chairperson, Local Council Five (LCV) for Moroto District stressed the importance of pastoralism and the need to advocate for more policies that could support pastoralism. He suggested that empowering pastoralists with bargaining skills could make pastoralism flourish. He stated that there was need to empower pastoralists with disease surveillance, disease recognition and disease reporting skills. Finally, he called upon livestock experts to focus on research, joint planning and implementation of the MoU, formalization of cross-border trade, and sustainability of cross-border meetings.

The meeting focussed on the review of the progress of the joint work between Kenya and Uganda since the MoU was signed in 2013; current efforts and strategies for joint FMD control within the Karamoja cluster; accepting South Sudan on board regarding in implementation of joint strategies; Finalization of the joint programme document, work plan and budget including resource mobilization strategy to implement the joint activities; and sharing recommendations of the inter-regional RVF meeting.

The Cross Border Animal Health Coordination Program were intended to (1) establish and operationalize the institutional and legislative environment to enable improved cross border animal health services, (2) strengthen cross border animal disease surveillance, early warning, preparedness and response, (3) enhance cross border evidence-based decision making through research, and (4) improve animal health knowledge attitudes and practices among the cross border population and stakeholders in Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan within the Karamoja cluster. Strategic objectives and priority intervention actions for the MoU had been defined and discussed during earlier cross-border meetings held in Kitale, from 8th to 9th July 2013 and in Lodwar from 3rd to 4th September 2013. Given the earlier foundation, work plans and requisite budgets for the components of Joint Program were developed heavily incorporating livestock programs that sustains livelihoods in the Joint Program Area. Such a program was necessary to coordinate animal health service provision in order to improve livestock health, infrastructure and management. It was envisaged that improved animal health would enhance availability of quality livestock and better nutritious livestock products. Improved infrastructure and management in-turn would improve delivery of animal health services. All these would ultimately contribute to the national GDP.

Key areas for collaboration include: (1) cross border joint activities on animal health certification at Border posts, (2) Joint vaccination especially on FMD and PPR, (3) sharing of grazing areas in cross-border areas, (4) Diseases surveillance on selected TADs, (5) Sharing of information among livestock stakeholders, and (6) Periodic formal or informal meetings among the veterinary authorities in the border areas. Four major strategy objectives were agreed upon: (1) To establish and operationalize the institutional and legislative environment to enable improved cross border animal health, (2) To strengthen CB knowledge & information management system, (3) To improve animal health knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) among the cross border population and stakeholders in the participating countries, and (4) To enhance cross border evidence-based decision-making through research, socio economic impact and lessons-learnt. The work plans and budgets of the MoU were then revised through group work.

The meeting agreed to initiate a Joint FMD Control Plan for Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan focussing on (1) Putting in place cross border coordination and harmonization, (2) Streamlining legislation, (3) Harmonizing policies among countries, (4) Implementing joint surveillance, (5) Putting in place quarantine and control infrastructures in cross border areas, (6) Undertaking capacity building in countries regarding FMD identification and control, (7) Implementing a joint FMD Roadmap, (8) appointing a joint committee to coordinate FMD control, (9) Reporting FMD outbreaks amongst the Joint Program Area stakeholders regularly, (10) Undertaking joint vaccination programs in the Joint Program Area, (11) Developing options for reducing the cost of vaccine, (12) Harmonizing policies regarding payment for FMD vaccination among countries, including payment by farmers, (13) Creating a Joint FMD Emergency Fund to enable procurement of vaccines at the same time, (14) Supporting laboratories in the Joint Program Area, (15) Ensuring sanitary compliance is observed to cater for formal & informal trade, (16) Identifying serotypes within the region for targeted vaccination, and (17) Taking note of World Bank regulations that do not allow charging for vaccination against FMD and PPR.

The meeting recommended (1) inclusion of South Sudan (Eastern & Central Equatorial) as a new member in the cross border animal health coordination program, (2) the need to incorporate the M&E budget in the workplan within the revised working framework, (3) for Cattle: FMD, CBPP, LSD, for Sheep & Goats: sheep and goat pox, PPR, CCPP and for Poultry: NCD as the priority diseases to be addressed, while ECF be addressed through extension agents within County and Local Governments, and (4) undertaking of risk analysis for FMD transmission between Uganda and South Sudan through formal and informal cross border trade.

As a way forward, the meeting agreed that feedback by country teams to be delivered to IGAD by 30th July 2015; IGAD to consolidate the 3 country consensus documents and submit to legal and foreign affairs in the company of technical country representatives by mid-August 2015, and IGAD to agree with the countries on the tripartite agreement signing revision of the MoU by August 2015