Several OIE listed transboundary animal diseases (TADs) or diseases that easily spread from one country to another continue to spread within the IGAD region threatening the economic, trade and/or food security of the Member States. These diseases can reach epizootic proportions and their control/management requires cooperation between several countries. Hence, ministers responsible for animal resources in IGAD Member States signed a Regional Policy Framework on Animal Health (RPFAH) in 2009 in the context of trade and vulnerability to harmonize management of these diseases. They recognized the challenges caused by TADs, the need for enhancing regional trade and calls for a coordinated regional approach to address these problems. Therefore, IGAD facilitated, Ethiopian-Somalia to sign a cross border MoU in March, 2019 to strengthen this collaboration.
To operationalize the MoU, IGAD/ICPALD organized a two day meeting to launch the governance structure and develop a harmonized disease surveillance and vaccination calendar for 2022 between the two countries. The meeting took place at Sheraton Hotel, in the Republic of Djibouti from 9-10th December, 2021. The meeting was attended by 34 technical officers from ministries in charge of animal resources, VSF-S, IGAD and AU-IBAR was officially opened by Dr. Fikru Regassa, State Minister of Livestock, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The following recommendations were made:
- Each country should integrate cross-border animal health issues into national programs to facilitate implementation of the signed bilateral MoU and implementation framework.
- Each country should continue with awareness creation, about the signed MoU and implementation framework, to various stakeholders (Policy makers, development partners, communities, traders) for buy-in about the values of coordinated cooperation and collaboration for control of transboundary animal diseases (Trade sensitive diseases) such as; PPR, FMD, LSD, CCPP, Unknown Camel Disease(UCD), CBPP etc. across the common border.
- The two countries with support of IGAD should strengthen implementation of the harmonized disease surveillance and vaccination calendar for 2022 against the common TADs across their border.
- The two countries with support of IGAD and development partners (FAO, VSF, DRC, AU-IBAR, etc) should develop a protocol to promote information sharing against the common TADs in areas of surveillance, control of animal movement for trade, in search of pasture and water etc.
- The two countries in collaboration with IGAD should strengthen resource mobilization efforts from donors and development partners by developing bankable individual/joint proposals/ concept notes.
- IGAD should facilitate development of tri-lateral MoU between Ethiopia-Kenya-Somalia on cross-border cooperation on animal health and sanitary measures.
- The two countries with support from IGAD should promote shared use of cross-border livestock infrastructure (laboratories, quarantine facilities, livestock markets, slaughter houses) and natural resources (water and pasture)
- The two countries with support of IGAD and development partners should strengthen peace building mechanisms to mitigate frequent conflict associated with shared use of natural resources.
Acknowledgement: ICPALD expresses appreciation to AU-IBAR for financing the activity under Live2Africa project funded by the EU.