Khartoum, Sudan

IGAD regional seminar veterinary legislation (Khartoum)

In the framework of the VETGOV project on strengthening of veterinary governance in Africa, the OIE is entrusted with the implementation of activities to (i) strengthen the capacity of countries to assess their compliance with the standards of the OIE, (ii) to build the capacity of countries on veterinary legislation and (iii) to ensure interoperability between AU-IBAR?s Animal Resources Information System (ARIS) and WAHIS. In order to implement the second point, the OIE has developed, in collaboration with AU-IBAR, a one-week seminar on the promotion of the development of harmonised regional veterinary legislation. By the end of 2016, up to seven seminars will have been conducted in the regional economic communities, recognized by the AU (ECCAS, IGAD, EAC, SADC, ECOWAS, COMESA and UMA/CENSAD).

The methodology applied here is innovative: firstly, the designated participants are veterinarians and lawyers involved in the development and implementation of regulations and secondly, formal presentations are minimised to make room for a series of workshops in which three groups, mixing veterinarians and lawyers, conduct exercises. The aim is that participants acquire the consecutive logical steps that will eventually lead to the development of an efficient and harmonised regulation in a regional context : defining objectives, developing and planning of the strategy to achieve the objectives, identifying actions to be taken (including legislation) and defining indicators allowing for the evaluation of the effectiveness of the actions.

The second seminar in this series was held in Khartoum, Soudan from 23 to 27 November 2014 for the members of the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) comprising of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. Eritrea did not attend. The seminar covered regulations on animal health.

Dr Walter Masiga, OIE Regional Representative for East Africa and the Horn of Africa officially represented the OIE at the opening. The team of experts from the OIE was led by Dr David Sherman, Coordinator of the OIE Veterinary Legislation Support Programme and included Gloria Mintah, OIE Legal Consultant and former Senior Counsel for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Legal Services and Dr. Moetapele Letshwenyo, OIE Sub-Regional Representative for Southern Africa and former Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and former Director of Veterinary Services of the Republic of Botswana. Representatives of FAO and IGAD also contributed to facilitating the group work that was conducted by participants during the four and a half day seminar.

After a series of background presentations on OIE international standards for veterinary legislation, methodologies for drafting legislation, principles of policy making and basic elements of animal disease control, delivered on the first day, the participants were divided into three working groups for days 2 through 4 of the seminar. In their groups, participants analysed samples of national legislation on animal disease control and identified obstacles to implementation of this legislation.

The following day they worked on the development of a framework (formulation of objectives, strategy development, choice of indicators, …) for addressing animal disease control legislation on a regional basis and the next day they worked on the implementation of the regional framework they had developed (assessment of resources needed and planning of implementation). The final morning was given over to reviewing and evaluating the seminar activities and mapping a way forward to continue the effort on harmonisation of regional legislation on animal disease control for IGAD members.

Given the intense interest, high level of participation, depth of understanding, excellent cooperation between veterinarians and legal experts and the establishment of a clear roadmap for further activity, it can be safely concluded that this seminar was a success.

The next seminars will be held in 2015 for the members of the South African Development Community (SADC) and the Union of the Arab Maghreb (UMA)

Overview of participants and organisers. Picture © AU-IBAR (2014)

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