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CTA Dil Peeling with officials of IGAD Secretariat and Member States, outlining the proposed mandate for the pastoralism and livestock centre
CTA Dil Peeling with officials of IGAD Secretariat and Member States, outlining the proposed mandate for the pastoralism and livestock centre

A little over a year since IGAD LPI facilitated agreement of a policy framework among its livestock ministers, detailing how they will collaborate to support the region’s 43 million poor livestock keepers, the IGAD secretariat took a major step forward this week with the first meeting of a steering committee to develop the concept of an IGAD Centre for Pastoralism and Livestock Development (ICAPLD). The steering committee is responding to article 5 of the regional policy framework, which calls for such a unit to be put in place. It is also a response to a Communiqué, issued by the 33rd Ordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers, directing the secretariat to explore the possibility of establishing a strategic institution for management of natural resources and governance of the drylands. Its work will conclude with an assessment and recommendations to the Council of Ministers on the feasibility of the centre. A positive outcome would open the door for IGAD to assume a key role at the heart of poverty focussed policy development for the drylands that cover more than half of its landmass.

Many of IGAD LPI’s stakeholders are also watching the development of the centre as hopes are high that it will provide an important regional link for their national policy hubs, as IGAD LPI’s activities draw to a close in February 2012

IGAD LPI’s Chief Technical Adviser, Dil Peeling, joined representatives of IGAD member states and the IGAD secretariat for the meeting on 27th February in Djibouti. “One of early lessons of IGAD LPI was that that member states want to manage regional issues regionally, and improve the level of coordination between themselves.” he said, adding “In terms of developing the capacity to do that, it looks like we are seeing a new chapter opening, with this meeting.”

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Women members of the Sudanese Policy Hub have been central to the formulation of projects that specifically target poor women.

Women members of the Sudanese Policy Hub have been central to the formulation of projects that specifically target poor women.

Representing a milestone in their engagement with national development planning, the Sudanese Policy Hub issued a series of projects aimed at supporting the livelihoods of poor livestock keepers living in all parts of the Sudan. Pasture improvement, capacity building for pastoral men and women and rangeland management are all addressed in the project proposals.
Opening the policy hub meeting, which was convened on the 27th and 28th December, 2010 in Khartoum, State Minister of Animal Resources and Fisheries (MARF), H.E. Major Gen. Ismail Khameis Galab, underlined that the Ministry would like to see the Policy Hub proposing projects that would positively impact the lives of millions, including the pastoral communities and women.
Dr. Ammar Idris, IGAD LPI National Technical Focal Point remarked that the Sudanese Policy Hub has shown a remarkable shift of perception in analysing and conceptualising livestock issues in a bid to adequately address policy gaps that primarily affect the livelihoods of those poor men and women, rather than solely focussing on issues of production and export. The proposed projects, he added, would bring about changes in the lives of the poor rural communities by reducing poverty and food insecurity.
The proposed eleven projects, which encompass all aspects of livestock development from disease control to market access, will now pass to the Ministry of Finance and National Economy for budgeting and further elaboration.  

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The Ugandan Policy Hub at its latest Meeting in Kampala

The Ugandan Policy Hub at its latest Meeting in Kampala

The Ugandan Policy Hub meeting, held on the 20th and 21st January 2011 in Kampala, discussed  a proposal for the establishment and funding of a Livestock Policy Forum which will gradually replace the existing Policy Hub established under IGAD LPI thus ensuring its work continues after IGAD LPI’s implementation phase. The meeting also drew up a work plan for the year 2011 and reviewed livestock related proposals for inclusion and funding in the country’s Agricultural Sector Development Strategy Investment Plan (DSIP). 
Dr. Nicholas Kauta, IGAD LPI Steering Committee Member (SCM) for Uganda and the Acting Director of Animal Resources at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), briefed the Policy Hub on the recommendations coming out of the 6th IGAD LPI Steering Committee Meeting, which stressed the importance of sustaining the Policy Hubs and National Information Node as well as the activities initiated by IGAD LPI. During a wrap up meeting, Dr Otieno Mtula, Policy Adviser at IGAD LPI, discussed upcoming collaborative work on Disaster Risk Management (DRM) with the IGAD LPI Uganda country team. The task builds on the Regional Policy Framework agreed and will be implemented in collaboration with the “Regional Initiative in Support of Vulnerable Pastoralists and Agro-pastoralists in the Horn of Africa” Project. The Project will support decision making at field, national and regional levels. 

Members of the Kenyan Policy Hub

Members of the Kenyan Policy Hub

The Kenyan Policy Hub convened on 8th December 2010 to call for a more vibrant and independent “Kenyan Pro-poor Livestock Policy Forum”, building on its experiences with  IGAD LPI. Having looked at a range of options for its sustainability after IGAD LPI ends in February 2012, the Forum proposed the continuation of its mandate, but with a new structure and a renewed commitment to advance the cause of poorer and women livestock keepers.  The Policy Hub underscored the need for linkages with government to preserve its policy relevance,  but proposed strengthening its advocacy role by locating itself beyond government structures. This would be through a task force comprised of government, civil society organisations, private sector, international organisations, inter-governmental organisations and regional bodies.
Although the Information Node would continue to be located within government structures it would be elevated to the departmental level with an expanded mandate.

Dr. Julia Kinyua, who has been facilitating the growth of the Policy Hub for the last two years, welcomed its analysis and recommendations as another step in the Policy Hub’s coming of age. “It is very gratifying to see the Hub mature and take its role in articulating the voice of poor and women livestock keepers so seriously” she added.

The PRSP TWG of the Sudan Policy Hub discussing project proposals

The PRSP TWG of the Sudan Policy Hub discussing project proposals

This week, the Policy Hubs in Djibouti and Uganda met to decide how they intend to institutionalise and maintain their Policy Hubs, working groups and Information Nodes. In the Sudan, the Technical Working Group convened to consolidate livestock project proposals for further action by their Policy Hub.

The Djiboutian Policy Hub, attended by IGAD LPI Chief Technical Adviser Dil Peeling, agreed on an action plan that foresees better representation of women and of senior officials and that establishes a legal status for the institutions. Dr. Otieno Mtula attended the Policy Hub in Uganda, which examined ways through which the national Policy Hub and Information Node could be institutionalised to keep advocating and supporting pro-poor policy processes in the country after IGAD LPI closes in February 2012 and established a smaller sub-group to finalise their plan. The meeting also examined concepts being developed for inclusion in the country’s development planning. Dr Abdi Jama, IGAD LPI Livestock Information Adviser, took part in a Sudanese Technical Working Group meeting on better representation of livestock in the National Development Plans. The meeting focused on consolidating the array of priority small projects identified so far into larger projects and programs to be incorporated in the Country’s Poverty Eradication Paper.  These projects will be submitted to the Policy Hub chaired by the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries for final review, based on their poverty and gender focus. The meeting is scheduled for the end of December.

Dr Otieno Mtula, IGAD LPI Livestock Policy Adviser, speaking at the Sudan Policy Hub Meeting in Khartoum

Dr Otieno Mtula, IGAD LPI Livestock Policy Adviser, speaking at the Sudan Policy Hub Meeting in Khartoum

The Sudanese Policy Hub meeting on the 8th – 9th November 2010, discussed ways of institutionalising their Policy Hub and Information Node, established through IGAD LPI, into the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries (MARF). The policy hub further discussed ways of ensuring sustainable funding to maintain momentum beyond the life of IGAD LPI, and continue addressing challenges the livestock keepers face in sustaining their livelihoods. The Policy Hub formed a special committee to meet senior MARF officials and the Head of the Agriculture Committee in the National Assembly and advocate the recommendations coming out of the meeting. They will convey the message that Sudan needs more emphasis on pro-poor policy making for the benefit of the livestock dependent poor.

The Policy Hub discussing PRSP issues, Khartoum

The Policy Hub discussing PRSP issues, Khartoum

A working group, a subset of the Sudanese livestock Policy Hub, held a meeting on the 3th October 2010 in Khartoum, Sudan to continue to develop and refine viable livestock development projects with the aim of augmenting the profile of livestock in the Sudanese country poverty eradication strategy paper. The working group consists of representatives from government ministries, pastoralist unions, civil Society organizations, women affairs, NGOs and the private sector.

Opening the one day session, the IGAD LPI National Technical Focal Point, Dr. Ammar Sheikh underscored the need to focus on the development of project proposals and programs that have the potential to contribute on improving on livelihoods of the livestock keepers as well as to the overall alleviation on poverty and food insecurity in the Sudan,

The IGAD LPI National Technical Focal Point, Dr. Ammar Sheikh and Dr. Abdi Jama of IGAD LPI briefed the Sudanese IGAD LPI Steering Committee member, Dr. Kamal Tagelsir Elsheikh on recent developments in the project and exchanged views with regard to the sustainably of institutions set up by IGAD LPI such as Policy Hub and National Information Node.  Dr. Elsheikh expressed his confidence that these institutions will receive support from the Ministry of Animal Resource and Fisheries beyond the life of the project given their importance and contributions so far to capacity building on pro- poor livestock policy making in the Sudan.

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