A new network helps to manage animal genetic resources in West and Central Africa
A Sub-Regional Focal Point for Animal Genetic Resources in West and Central Africa has recently been established with the concerted support of FAO’s Animal Genetic Resources Branch (AGAG), Regional Office for Africa (RAF) and Subregional Offices for Central and West Africa (SFC and SFW), and with the collaboration of the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and the Regional Project on Sustainable Management of Endemic Ruminant Livestock in West Africa (PROGEBE). The Focal Point – launched in June 2011 through the adoption of the “Libreville Declaration” – will support countries in their implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources by building collaborative partnerships, coordinating regional management efforts, and promoting information sharing, technical cooperation, training and research.
The Steering Committee of the Focal Point has already met twice, once in Libreville in June 2011 and once in Lomé in December 2011. An ad hoc working group – consisting of FAO, AU-IBAR, the Conseil Ouest et Centre Africain pour la Recherche et le Développement Agricoles (CORAF), PROGEBE and Centre International de Recherche-Développement sur l’Elevage en zone Subhumide (CIRDES) – has been established to develop a concept paper for a regional project. The working group will focus on a number of priorities for action, which include:
- improving the typology of breeds and providing methodological support;
- strengthening national technical capacity;
- managing and disseminating information on breeds;
- securing genetic stock (gene banking);
- strengthening legislation on genetic improvement and performance recording;
- promoting synergy between actors in animal genetic resources management; and
- analysing demand for animal products.
An electronic forum, known as DAD-Net West and Central Africa, has already been established and is proving popular with stakeholders across the subregion. It has already received 443 contributions from 141 members from 45 countries, in addition to two structured e-conferences conducted on the forum.
The Sub-Regional Focal Point is also playing an important role in the evaluation of project proposals submitted from the subregion for funding under the Funding Strategy for the Implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources. A group of experts has been established to provide advice to the Steering Committee on the task of ranking the proposals.