The African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resource (AU-IBAR), in collaboration with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) , the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) secretariat, brought together 14 Member States of ECOWAS (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo) to critically reflect on their national veterinary legislation on the control of animal diseases with a view to embark on a process of regional harmonization.
The seminar was officially opened by Dr GBETOGBE Kolfi, representing H.E Hon Colonel Ouro-Koura AGADAZI, the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Water Resources, the Government of the Republic of Togo. He welcomed the participants and thanked them for their commitment to a regional approach which is the way forward to increase trade in livestock.
The representative of ECOWAS, Dr Vivian Iwar, On behalf of the ECOWAS Hon. Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment, and Water Resources, Hon. Tchambakou Ayassor, welcome all participants to the ECOWAS region. She extended The Commissioner’s personal good wishes for a successful seminar, emphasised his keen interest in the deliberations from the seminar, and welcome the recommendations for implementation by the Commission. She thanked OIE and FAO for their continuing collaboration in resolving livestock issues in the ECOWAS region. She also thanked AU-IBAR for their continental leadership on animal resources issues.
Dr Wora Salami Ibrahim, representing FAO thanked AU-IBAR for inviting FAO to the seminar and reiterated their commitment to support the process.
Dr Martial Petitclerc of OIE thanked AU-IBAR for the laudable initiative and presented the various regional instruments with emphasis on the veterinary committee and its sub-committees.
In his introductory remarks, Dr Baboucarr Jaw representing the Director of AU-IBAR, thanked the Government of the Republic of Togo through its Ministry of agriculture, livestock and water resources for hosting the important seminar. He also thanked all participants for responding positively to AU-IBAR’s invitation to the seminar, stressing the demonstration of their commitment to sharing knowledge and experiences on review, formulation and harmonization of veterinary legislation.
Dr Jaw quoted Chapter 3.4 of the OIE Terrestrial Code, which states that “Good governance is a recognized global public good which is of crucial importance for Member Countries. Legislation is a key element in achieving good governance”. He further informed the audience that the issue is addressed by the AU-IBAR through a specific contribution agreement with the European Commission, as part of the VET-GOV program. He added that specific contribution agreements with the European Commission were signed between the EU and FAO, and OIE, to complement the work of AU-IBAR.
He finally urged participants to get involved fully in this process for its success which will be an example of good practice worthy of emulation by other regions of Africa. He concluded by thanking the EU for its continued support.
42 veterinarians and legal experts attended the seminar which was facilitated by experts from OIE, AU-IBAR, FAO and ECOWAS.
The seminar took place from 20th to 24th June 2016 at IBIS hotel in Lomé, Togo.