Cross-border animal health coordination agreement between Kenya and Uganda

Cross-border animal health coordination agreement between Kenya and Uganda

24/04/2013

Uganda and Kenya have agreed to coordinate efforts to improve animal health in their border areas. Representatives from both countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the border town of Moroto, Uganda, today. The agreement is a unique step towards building the resilience of communities in the region.

The MoU will synchronize the cross-border animal health programs of both countries. Kenya and Uganda are committed to coordinating investments in the districts and creating better access to services for pastoralists. Disease control activities will be harmonized while information will be shared.

The communities living along the Kenya-Uganda border in the Pokot and Turkana Counties of Kenya and the Karamoja Sub-region of Uganda are among the first to benefit from the agreement. Thousands of families in these areas depend on livestock as the primary source of livelihood. In search of pastures and water sources and in pursuit of trading opportunities, pastoralists frequently cross the Uganda-Kenyan border with their livestock.

“The new partnership will improve animal health service delivery as coordination and information sharing between both countries will be strengthened,” says IGAD’s Executive Secretary H.E Ambassador (Eng.) Mahboub M. Maalim. “As a result local trade will be stimulated while resilience of local communities is further strengthened.”

Generally, there has been limited coordination in animal health across countries and other service providers in Eastern Africa. The agreement, which bridges this gap, was initiated by technical officers on the ground, led by the NGO ACTED with funding from ECHO. With help from RISPA, an IGAD-FAO partnership programme funded by the European Union, the cross-border animal health coordination was moved up the political agenda, resulting in today’s agreement.

“Kenya and Uganda have committed themselves to harmonize their animal health initiatives, bringing the needs of the communities to the front,” adds RISPA’s Project Coordinator Emmanuella Olesambu.

The collaboration is a consequence of measures taken by governments after the devastating drought that hit the Horn of Africa in 2011 and which affected over 10 million people in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. After the drought governments spearheaded initiatives to increase resilience of vulnerable communities in arid and semi-arid areas.

“This agreement will boost cross-border trade in livestock and livestock commodities between the two countries and harmonize livestock disease management among the pastoral communities across the borders,” Alhaji Jallow, FAO Country Representative in Uganda, adds.

“IGAD foresees this agreement as the beginning of enhanced cross border collaboration, and we hope Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan will soon follow suit,” IGAD’s Executive Secretary H.E Ambassador (Eng.) Mahboub M. Maalim concludes. “We cannot stop droughts from happening, but with the implementation of agreements like these, droughts should no longer have to lead to disasters.