Maseru, Lesotho

SADC seminar veterinary legislation (Maseru)

The OIE, in collaboration with the AU-IBAR under the VETGOV programme held a workshop on the harmonisation of veterinary legislation for the South African Development Community (SADC) Member Countries in Maseru, Lesotho from the 6th to 10th July 2015. The workshop was officially opened by the Honorable Minister of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS) of Lesotho, Mrs Mapalesa Mothoko. The President of the World Assembly of OIE Delegates, who is also the Chief Veterinary Officer for the Republic of South Africa, also graced the occasion and gave remarks, and so did Representatives from AU-IBAR, SADC and FAO. The speakers emphasized the importance of veterinary legislation, especially with respect to its harmonisation, to promote intra-regional trade as espoused in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) of SADC.

The workshop was attended by veterinary and legal experts responsible for drafting veterinary legislation, as well as representatives from collaborating partners. In total 50 people attended the workshop. The workshop is the fourth in a series of workshops that OIE, AU-IBAR and collaborating partners have been holding since 2014, with the aim to review veterinary legislation and to identify gaps, overlaps and conflicts between national veterinary laws and how they can be addressed regionally.

SADC Member countries had chosen “animal disease control” with special reference to peste des petits ruminants (PPR) as the aspect of veterinary domain they wanted used for discussions on legislation. After background presentations from legal and veterinary experts, participants analysed a sample of animal diseases control laws from four selected member countries; they went further to develop a framework for a regional animal disease control legislation, and then evaluated the impact of their proposal. The workshop gave animal health experts and lawyers an opportunity to work together as a team, share each other’s vocabulary, requirements and expectations. It was also an opportunity to sensitize participants on the international standards on veterinary legislation. Finally participants appreciated the existence of different national legal systems and approaches to achieving common objectives within these systems. The importance of PPR as an imminent threat to the SADC region was also well appreciated by participants.

As a way forward, a draft framework (outline) for the “harmonisation of legislation and action for animal disease control, with a focus on prevention and control of PPR” was developed and shared with participants for their comments before it is finalised. The meeting agreed that discussions on the subject of veterinary legislation must be kept “alive” by following up and implementing the framework and regularly reviewing progress at the annual SADC Livestock Technical Committee (LTC) meetings

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