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Statement on Community-Based Management of
Animal Genetic Resources for
Rural Development and Food Security

The workshop - the first of its kind - was jointly organized by SADC, SACCAR, FAO, UNDP, GTZ and the Ministry of Agriculture of the Kingdom of Swaziland to discuss community-based management of animal genetic resources (CBMAnGR). A total of 71 participants from the SADC region and beyond attended.

In the SADC region, about 75 percent of farm animals are kept by the communal/smallholder sector, which represents the majority of stockowners. The remainder is farmed in commercial systems. While the balance between these sectors varies between countries, the role of animal agriculture in sustaining livelihoods in the smallholder/communal sector is immense. Loss of animal genetic diversity currently threatens the sustainability of farming systems. Achieving food security under these circumstances is one of the greatest challenges facing the region.

Despite a growing global awareness of the importance of animal genetic resources, little attention has been paid to the role of communities in managing these resources. CBMAnGR has a critical role to play in the alleviation of poverty.

Specific findings

CBMAnGR was defined as the management of AnGR in which decisions on defining, prioritizing and implementing actions that affect AnGR and their ecosystems are made by the local communities that own/manage these resources. The workshop highlighted the critical role of CBMAnGR in the sustainable use of natural resources in the region and resolved to develop and promote the concept at the national, regional and global level.

The workshop recommended that further actions be taken to:

Promote participatory AnGR management based on local knowledge and resources for enhancing capacity in animal breeding, development and conservation;

Bring the importance of CBMAnGR to the attention of FAO during the next meeting of the Commission on Genetic Resources;

Formulate policies to support CBMAnGR in the region;

Develop policies on the rights of local communities, farmers and breeders and the regulation of, and access to, benefit-sharing of AnGR;

Ensure that proper mechanisms are put in place for research and development concerning CBMAnGR; and

Conduct economic valuation surveys and investigate and develop markets for animals and animal products.

Mbabane, Swaziland, 7-11 May 2001

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