Officially opening the meeting, Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA), Head of Division for Rural Economy, Dr. Janet Edeme, representing the AUC DREA Commissioner, Mrs. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, said pastoralists make crucial but often undervalued contributions to national and regional economies in Africa.
She pointed out that human development and food security indicators for many pastoral areas in Africa were among the lowest in Africa, and it was for that reason that the AU Heads of State and Government in 2011 adopted the Policy Framework for Pastoralism as the Continental Framework for addressing the complex challenges facing pastoral communities in Africa.
“The AUC was tasked to put in place appropriate measures for mobilization of financial resources and partnerships in support of pastoral policy development and implementation,” Mrs. Tumusiime said. “The AUC was also requested to establish the mechanisms for progress tracking and Member States reporting on progress achieved in implementing this framework.”
She noted that the meeting was critical in the AUC's continued efforts to develop pastoralism in Africa and thanked the stakeholders for their continued support and active participation.
Taking the floor during the official opening, Head of the Centre for Agricultural and Rural Technical Cooperation (CTA), Ms. Isolina Boto, said pastoralism was not seen as an economic driver for most regions and hence more work needed to be done to strengthen the sector.
She commended the AUC for the development of the framework and pledged CTA's support for its implementation.
United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) representative Ms. Choice Okoro, commended the AUC for developing a comprehensive policy that took into account the views of all stakeholders.
Ms. Okoro stressed that the policy framework was cardinal because food insecurity in Africa could not be addressed without addressing pastoralist challenges as well.
At the end of the two day meeting, the following will be achieved:
Validation of the policy framework implementation action plan;
Validation and endorsement of the institutional and Resource Mobilization Strategy Frameworks;
Clarification of roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders in the pastoralism policy framework implementation process;
Validation of pastoralist's stakeholders in the policy framework implementation process.
The meeting is being attended by representatives from national governments/Member States, regional pastoralist groups, continental agricultural programs, NGOs with an interest in pastoralism, pastoral parliamentary groups, representatives from local pastoral youths and women's groups, universities, international development partners, civil society and pastoral rights' groups, private sector partners, environmental authorities, pastoral communities representatives and indigenous institutions.