By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
August 23, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopia and neighbouring Sudan have drafted a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance collaboration and cooperation on cross-border animal health and livestock trade programmes.
The cross-border meeting, which was held last week in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, was organised by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD).
Reinforcing Veterinary Governance in Africa” (VETGOV) programme and the Standard Methods and Procedures in Animal Health (SMP-AH) projects supported the program.
Funded by the European Union and the United States aid arm (USAID), the joint projects are implemented in partnership with the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), a specialized technical office of the African Union.
The main aim of the cross-border meeting was to initiate development of binding agreements between Ethiopia, and Sudan on Animal Health to facilitate service delivery along the shared territory.
It also provides a framework for stronger cooperation and collaboration along their bilateral border in order to address disease surveillance, disease control and timely sharing of animal health and trade information.
The MoU develops an agenda that address the common challenges and guides implementation that lays the foundation to facilitate prevention and control of various trans-boundary animal diseases across border.
Participants said widespread disease outbreaks in the region was the major challenge that need a collective prevention measures within the IGAD states to enhance trade.
Speaking on behalf of ICPALD, Joseph Magona said the IGAD region had immense livestock resources that are severely affected by trans-boundary animal diseases.
“ICPALD therefore supports the improvement of livestock health and production especially in pastoral and dry land within the region” Joseph said.
“This necessitates strong cross-border collaboration and cooperation between countries”, he added.
The meeting was attended by 30 participants from Sudan, Ethiopia, IGAD and AU-IBAR.
SMP-AH project aims to stabilise livelihoods of livestock-dependent communities by enhancing capacities of all livestock value chain actors to effectively control trans-boundary animal diseases in a coordinated manner.
The project has supported large numbers of vulnerable livestock-keeping communities across the East African region residing along borders who are vulnerable to drought.
Drought conditions force animals move across borders in search of pasture and water.
It is widely believed that such movement for either pasture or trade facilitates spread of trans-boundary animal diseases and the project thus provides support for communities in cross-border areas to collaborate, coordinate and harmonise diseases control.
VETGOV which also is an implementing partner intends to bring about institution strengthening of veterinary services in Africa towards the establishment of adequate veterinary services at the national and regional level.
The program also seeks to strengthen regional institutions to play their roles of coordination, harmonisation, integration and support to countries with the aim to stimulate a more conducive environment for public and private investments in the livestock sector.