The IGAD-LPI’s purpose is to strengthen the capacity in IGAD, its member states, and other regional organisations and stakeholders, to formulate and implement livestock sector and related policies that sustainably reduce food insecurity and poverty.
With no appropriate livestock policies in place throughout the region, raising capacity to deliver pro-poor policies will mean raising capacities to do things differently. IGAD LPI is developing these capacities by assisting IGAD governments to formulate appropriate polices and by making sure that the necessary support mechanisms are institutionalised into government planning.
Developing Appropriate Policies
The project is developing the capacities to put livestock on national development agendas in the first place, by raising the profile of livestock and its potential within government planning and resource allocation. It is also strengthening the capacity within policy processes to ensure a positive outcome for the poor and for women.
The project is developing the decision support tools to feed information, analysis and the experience of best practice into the formulation of livestock policy. In tandem, it is ensuring that civil society is fully represented in policy formulation, so* that when policies are produced, they are responsive to the needs of their beneficiaries.
Implementation – Policy Hubs
Capacity is being developed through practical engagement with key policy processes, or ‘interventions’ by national policy hubs – multidisciplinary fora drawn from civil society and government. From the experiences of the hubs, lessons are captured which will then inform the internationalisation of pro-poor policy making at the national level.
IGAD LPI Intervention – Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers
Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers lie at the heart of development planning and the allocation of resources. Originally conceived as a method of linking development assistance to strategic planning at the national level, they have become increasingly dominant in defining development priorities in general. In many countries of the IGAD region, they now constitute the country’s national development plan.
Their formulation remains an imperfect science however. As key planning documents and the route by which donor funds are accessed, they are the means by which the potential of livestock to the region, and in particular the region’s poor, could be unlocked. However, reviews have shown that although the PRSP process has given stakeholders space to participate in a national policy dialogues, participation has been broad rather than deep. Livestock has been one of the casualties of the process, the PRSPs frequently merely reflecting an existing leaning within government against resource allocation to livestock.
Operating through its policy hubs, the IGAD LPI is improving the process of PRSP formulation in order to ensure that livestock’s potential is understood, articulated into the process, and where appropriate, strategically built into the PRSP.
IGAD LPI Intervention – Regional Policy Framework on Animal Health and Trade
It is impossible to talk about unlocking the untapped potential of livestock in the IGAD region without talking about animal diseases. Among the poor, diseases introduce a level of risk that is simply too high for many to keep livestock, although they may well see them as their best route out of poverty.
For exporters, outbreaks of disease such as Rift Valley Fever or Foot and Mouth Disease can close borders for weeks or years. Despite the fact that the region’s ability to meet the two major policy challenges of chronic food insecurity and developing export markets, through livestock, is fundamentally undermined by animal disease, no IGAD member state has an active animal health policy in place. Governments in the Horn of Africa are aware of this. They are also aware of the need to develop an animal health policy that meets both the demands of today’s international markets and those of the subsistence small-holder. They are also aware that animals need to be moved across borders, to take advantage of seasonally available resources, to be exported and to access high value markets.
Animal health is therefore seen as a regional public good. Though polices derived on a national level might be expected to reflect differing national priorities, IGAD governments accept that bigger gains lie in agreement on the regional dimensions of animal health. It is for this reason that in February 2008, IGAD LPI’s steering committee mandated the project to facilitate government agreement on a framework of policy objectives – the regional policy framework for animal health. Doing so would, in turn, allow national polices to be developed within that regional context.
Final agreement will come as IGAD convenes the region’s ministers of agriculture to establish the regional policies. In preparation, it will work through the project, in cooperation with other Regional Economic Communities and the African Union, to support the region’s governments in developing the framework. Working though its policy hubs, IGAD LPI will help to build consensus with stakeholders in civil society and across government.
In the context of trade, the project will not only develop means of complying with international trade rules, but also of influencing those rules. In the context of poverty reduction, the project will help build understanding of how animal health and trade policy can be shaped in order to reach the poor and how services can be supported and regulated in order to reach those in the region’s most marginal areas. This is likely to involve regional support and recognition of community based systems.