Tunis, Tunisia

2nd ERFAN Regional Meeting in North Africa - Enhancement of scientific cooperation between Africa and Italy

The 2nd ERFAN (Enhancing Research for Africa Network) meeting for North Africa to reinforce the scientific cooperation between Africa and Italy was officially opened by the Italian Ambassador in Tunisia, His Excellency, Mr Lorenzo Fanara and the representative of the Tunisian Government, the Head of the Cabinet of the Minister of Agriculture of Tunisia (Mr Boubaker Karray)

Within the framework of ERFAN project, the 2nd regional meeting for North Africa was held in Tunis (Tunisia) from 5 to 7 November 2019. Experts from Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal met in Tunis to discuss issues of common interest in veterinary public health and food security. This workshop followed the first ERFAN workshop organised for the region in May 2018.

The 2nd regional meeting for North Africa has registered the participation of about 40 participants. The official opening was attended by the Head of the Cabinet of the Minister of Agriculture of Tunisia (Mr Boubaker Karray), the Italian Ambassador in Tunisia, His Excellency, Mr Lorenzo Fanara, the OIE Sub-Regional Representative for North Africa, Dr Rachid Bouguedour, the Sub-Regional Coordinator for North Africa and FAO Representative to Tunisia, Dr Philippe Ankers, the Chief Veterinary Officer of Italy, Dr Silvio Borrello and the Chief Veterinary Officer of Tunisia, Dr Malek Zrelli. During the official opening, all the speakers recognised the initiative to be very valuable since the issue of “research” is essential to innovate and to improve capacity – as a whole – for the Good Governance of Veterinary Services and, therefore, could be considered by a country as part of foreign policy (e.g. improve capacity and find solutions for better negotiating issues related to import/export or to ensure sustainable food security for citizens).

ERFAN (Enhancing Research for Africa Network) is a project aiming at enhancing the scientific cooperation between Africa and Italy through networking activities and implementation of projects. This initiative was created on the basis of the experience acquired by IZSAM in the field of international cooperation in Africa. This project is led by IZSAM (Teramo) but other Italian IZSs [Mezzogiorno (IZSM), Piemonte, Liguria e Valle D’Aosta (IZSPLV), Puglia e Basilicata (IZSPB) and Sicilia (IZSSI)] are part of the initiative by providing specific expertise. In addition to the Italian scientific partners, 15 African countries (7 in North Africa and 8 in Southern Africa) have joined the network and, specifically, 29 Veterinary Institutions including Central Laboratories and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

ERFAN will support Competent Authorities to deliver solutions in the areas of animal/human health, food security and food hygiene as well as environment protection. This platform will serve to connect projects at regional level and to create a bridge between scientific research and Central Veterinary Services with the objective of making available applied research to common challenges. This network will be therefore a catalyzer for optimizing the research activities and for disseminating the results.

The meeting was the opportunity to present the activities of the ERFAN partners and debate the potential areas of interest for the Mediterranean basin where focusing research activities as well as training and technical assistance. The following Working Groups were endorsed:

  1. Food safety
  2. Brucellosis
  3. Bovine tuberculosis
  4. Vector-borne diseases
  5. Mycoplasmosis of small ruminants (including Contagious Agalactia)
  6. Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE)
  7. Anthrax

The Regional ERFAN meeting was also the opportunity to present two projects currently under preparation:

  • Animal welfare issues (project Tunisia and Italy)
  • Camel Prion Disease with the objective of increasing surveillance in North Africa

All pictures (c) A. Ripani (oie) 2019.

Share this post