To strengthen cooperation and collaboration between countries along bilateral borders in order to address disease surveillance, disease control and timely sharing of animal health and trade information, a cross-border meeting was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 4th to 6th May 2016 to initiate development of binding agreements between Ethiopia and Djibouti; between Ethiopia and Somaliland; between Djibouti and Somaliland; between Ethiopia and Somalia. The meeting brought together 36 participants from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somaliland and Somalia, including representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affair; Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and Oxfam.
In his remarks, Dr Ameha Sebsibe, on behalf of Dr Solomon Munyua, the Acting Director IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) noted cross-border coordination for better disease control and enhancement of livestock trade is critical. In his remarks, Dr James Wabacha, on behalf of the Director of AU – IBAR, Prof. Ahmed Elsawalhy, noted that it was necessary for all parties involved in cross-border meeting to focus on addressing the common challenge preventing countries and livestock communities trading across the bilateral borders within the Somali cluster. He further noted that the SMP-AH project had supported initiatives to strengthen collaboration in cross-border areas within the region. He stated that the cross-border meeting was intended to develop a framework to guide implementation of activities. In addition, this was to lay foundation to facilitate control and eradication of PPR in cross-borders of the Somali cluster.
In his official opening, Dr Yismashewa, on behalf of Dr Bewket, the Chief Veterinary Officer for Ethiopia emphasized the livestock export bans that have affected the region in recent past as a result of transboundary animal diseases. he also stated that it was incumbent upon IGAD member states to prevent trade bans in order to enhance livestock trade in the region. A key challenge to the prevention of widespread disease outbreaks in the region was the differing measures implemented by various countries within IGAD. For this, he called on countries/regions/ border areas to strengthen collaboration in the control of transboundary animal diseases, in the prevention of emerging new diseases and trade enhancement
Previous regional cross-border meetings held in Mwanza in Tanzania, Gulu in Uganda and Dire Dawa in Ethiopia in 2014 were highlighted. Achievement following the cross-border meetings included (1) a vaccination campaign was launched and implemented in Kajiado and Narok counties in Kenya in March 2015; (2) drafting of MoU between Ethiopia and Kenya was initiated in May 2015 in Nanyuki and submitted to respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs; (3) drafting of MoU between Kenya and Tanzania was initiated in November 2015 and submitted to respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs; (4) Completion of the MoU between Uganda and South Sudan was supported through the meeting held in Moroto between Kenya, South Sudan and Kenya in June 2015; (5) harmonization of health certification and strengthening of surveillance and disease reporting at entry and border points between Djibouti, Somaliland and Puntland has been addressed through a meeting held in Djibouti in August 2015; (6) Similarly, a national training for veterinary inspectors and veterinary officers to improve control of transboundary animal diseases in border districts and border entry points in Uganda was held in Kampala from 26th to 29th October 2015; and (6) a vaccination campaign against Foot-and-Mouth Disease was conducted in cross-border areas in Uganda along the Uganda-Tanzania in December 2015.
ICPALD is expected to submit the draft agreements to the Legal Department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the respective countries by the end of 1st July 2016 for follow up and implementation.
IGAD/ICPALD is grateful to the USAID for having financed this event under SMP-AH funding.