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The OIE and CILSS conclude an agreement in support of pastoralism in the Sahel

On 23 October, at the Headquarters of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris, Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE, and Dr Djimé Adoum, Executive Secretary of the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), signed a formal partnership agreement between their two institutions. This agreement is intended to coordinate the activities of the Animal Health component of the Regional Sahel Pastoralism Support Project (PRAPS) funded by the World Bank and aimed at securing the way of life and the means of production of some 2 million pastoralists in this region whose livelihoods depend on their livestock.

From right to left: Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE,
and Dr Djimé Adoum, Executive Secretary of CILSS

Paris, 9 November 2015 – Pastoralism in its two main forms, transhumance and nomadism, is a way of life that is still very common in arid and semi-arid zones, where very few rural activities other than raising ruminants are feasible. With their own way of managing space and time, based on mobility and inherited “ancestral” knowledge, pastoral communities have succeeded in making best advantage of the natural resources of vast, practically desert areas poorly conducive to the development of agriculture. In so doing, they have managed to develop and sustain in these areas an economic potential and an ecological and social system unique of its kind.

In some very arid Sub-Saharan regions, pastoralism thus remains the only economically viable option for development, allowing the necessary and desirable occupation of the land and its economic exploitation. For these populations, the sustainable control of infectious diseases is essential, not only to reduce sanitary risks and safeguard the capital that their livestock represent, but also to ensure access to markets for animals and animal products.

Yet today, only 1.7%1 of international aid for agriculture goes to livestock development programmes and to the Veterinary Services that ensure livestock productivity and even its survival. “The threats to the future of pastoralism are global and could have a lasting impact on populations with ways of life and knowledge that form part of the world heritage of humanity”, emphasises the Director General of the OIE, Dr Bernard Vallat. Furthermore, given the recent security developments in these regions, there is a need to rapidly take into account the aspirations of these pastoralist communities with the aim of improving their living conditions. Substantial investments on behalf of livestock are therefore needed in these regions, and this requires the mobilisation of international partners.

This is the context in which the Regional Sahel Pastoralism Support Project (PRAPS) has been developed. PRAPS is one of the direct consequences of the Nouakchott Declaration adopted by the Heads of State and regional and international actors in the capital of Mauritania in October 2013. The USD 248 million project,  funded by the World Bank, aims to improve access to markets and means of production and essential services in selected areas of six Sahelian countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal) where more than 75% of the livestock sector is based on transhumant or nomadic pastoralism. The project will also enhance the capacity of these countries to respond to crises in a timely and effective manner.

To take into account all the issues relating to the protection and development of pastoralism, PRAPS consists of five separate components to be implemented at national level. Responsibility for their overall coordination lies with the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS).

Project management of the regional activities of the Animal Health component has been delegated to the Regional Animal Health Center (RAHC). For transitional purposes (between 2 and 6 years), while awaiting the full operationalization of the decision made by the Heads of State of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the OIE, whose technical skills, fiduciary capacity and unique expertise in the animal health sector are recognised by the World Bank Group and its partners, will support the RAHC in this mission.

The animal health component of the PRAPS project has been programmed taking into account the OIE’s tools for evaluating the quality of Veterinary Services and has two sets of activities: improvement of infrastructure and strengthening the capacities of the national Veterinary Services, and support for the surveillance and control of priority animal diseases, including peste des petits ruminants (PPR) and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP).

The partnership agreement signed between the OIE and CILSS relates to the implementation and regional coordination of the activities of this animal health component. It focuses principally on three groups of actions: general coordination of activities, provision of targeted methodological support, implementation of a continuous education programme for senior staff of the Veterinary Services in the six countries involved and capacity building of the Regional Animal Health Center of the ECOWAS (RAHC). Project implementation already began during the course of 2015.

1Nouakchott Declaration on Pastoralism (October 2013)
2The RAHC was established as an ordinary technical body of ECOWAS in 2012, by the Additional Act no. A/SA-20/02/12 signed by the Heads of State

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