From a focus on Rift Valley fever on the first two days of the workshop, discussions on Day 3 shifted gears to themes related to livestock certification; sanitary standards and livestock trade; and animal welfare along the livestock marketing value chain.
The theme on Animal health and certification interventions kicked off with a presentation by Dr Henry Wamwayi of the African Union – Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) on AU-IBAR animal health interventions in Somalia and the Horn of Africa.
After outlining AU-IBAR’s mandate, core functions and strategic programs, Dr Wamwayi highlighted the achievements of some recently completed AU-IBAR projects in the Horn of Africa, key among which was the Somali Ecosystem Rinderpest Eradication Coordination Unit (SERECU) project which led to the eradication of rinderpest in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.
He then presented overviews of two current AU-IBAR animal health interventions in the Horn of Africa and their achievements: Livestock Emergency Interventions to Mitigate Food Crisis in Somalia (LEISOM) and Vaccines for the Control of Neglected Animal Diseases in Africa (VACNADA).
Dr James Wabacha, also from AU-IBAR, followed with a presentation on the Somali Livestock Certification Project (SOLICEP) that AU-IBAR is undertaking in conjunction with veterinary authorities in Somalia, Somaliland and Puntland.
SOLICEP aims to (1) enhance livestock certification systems in Somalia and other countries in the Horn of Africa to improve performance and prevent future livestock bans; (2) build capacity for the public and private sectors to carry out livestock certification in line with the sanitary standards of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE); and (3) enhance communication and sharing of information among trading partners. Dr Wabacha outlined the key activities of the project under the three result areas of certification, capacity strengthening and linkages with Somali institutions and partners.
The final presentation under this theme was by Kenya’s Director of Veterinary Services, Dr Peter Ithondeka, who discussed animal health certification in livestock trade in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. Dr Ithondeka revisited the OIE principle of equivalence, noting that it is a useful principle for livestock exporting countries in the Horn of Africa to apply. He stressed that livestock certification should be based on risk analysis. He also noted that OIE standards for Rift Valley fever are very easily met but there is need to enhance trust and transparency between exporting and importing countries through such initiatives as the OIE membership forums which can be useful for fostering bilateral and multilateral engagement and building of trust.