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16th Conference of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Regional Commission for Africa - Khartoum (Sudan), 7-10 February 2005

The 16th Conference of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Regional Commission for Africa was held in Khartoum (Sudan) on the 7 -10 February 2005. The Conference was presided by His Excellency Field Marshal Omer Hassan Ahmed Al Bashir, President of the Republic of Sudan, the Right Honourable Colonel Gatlwak Deng Garang, Minister of Animal Resources and Fisheries of Sudan, the Right Honourable Members of the Sudanese Government, Dr Ahmed Mustafa Hassan, Undersecretary and Delegate of Sudan to the OIE and Dr Hamadou Saïdou, President of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa. The Director General of the OIE, Dr Bernard Vallat, the authorities of the Ministry, Delegates of Member Countries of the OIE, representatives of international and regional organisations and observers also attended the Conference.

On behalf of the Member Countries of the OIE, the Director General of the OIE expressed his gratitude to the Authorities of Sudan for hosting this very important meeting and congratulated the Republic of Sudan for having eradicated rinderpest in the country.

Two technical items of particular importance were discussed during the Conference:

  • The Socio-economic and animal health impact of transhumance
  • The implications of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for the livestock industry in Africa

Further to these two technical items, the traditional reports of the Heads of Veterinary Services on the diseases that recently occurred in their countries provided Delegates with an updated general overview of the current animal disease status in this region.

In addition to new developments in OIE aquatic animal health policies in Africa, discussions were also held on the joint OIE/FAO GF-TADs world-wide programme (Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases), the new mechanism 'Standard and Trade Development Facility' (STDF) and the ALive multi-partner programme (African Livestock - Partnership for Livestock Development, Poverty Alleviation and Substainable Growth in Africa. The OIE Regional Commission strongly supported the GF-TADs Programme, the STDF and the ALive initiative.

A further important action concerning the livestock sector is the now well-established extension of the collaboration of the OIE with the AU/IBAR/PACE; the programme for the 2004-2006 period was presented by the AU-IBAR and discussed in depth. The role and activities of several African regional and sub-regional organisations relevant to the support of the livestock sector were also presented.

At the sub-regional level, the OIE is currently developing two offices, one in the SADC sub-region (Southern African Development Community) and one for the Maghreb Arab Union (UMA) sub-region.

"Investment in animal health should be considered as a priority for its role in reducing poverty, improving regional and international market access and improving public health for the benefit of Africa and the international community as a whole", underlined Dr Vallat at the conference.

Several Recommendations were discussed and adopted. A very important recommendation on animal health and production policies and implementation mechanisms was adopted by the Commission, especially in the frame of the above mentioned Alive, GF-TADS and STDF programmes. All these recommendations will assist the 50 Member Countries of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa to adopt a common position on these issues, to be proposed, discussed and adopted by the countries of the other continents during the OIE General Session of all Member Countries in May 2005.

Participants supported the proposal of the Delegate of Eritrea to hold the 17th Conference of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa in his country in February 2007 and also welcomed the proposal of Tchad to host the 18th Conference in 2009. They extended their sincere gratitude to the Authorities of Sudan and their Veterinary Services for the excellent quality of the organisation and hospitality.