Pastoral communities manage space and time in a way that enables them to take advantage of huge areas of land which are largely desert and not suitable for the development of farming. Their approach, which is based on mobility and uses the knowledge passed down to them by their ancestors, serves as both a strategy for managing risks and a way of optimising the use of seasonally available fodder resources. They harness the economic potential of the land and have kept a unique ecological system intact.
Yet despite its economic and social importance, pastoral farming is not valued by society, and those who work in the sector – both nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoralists – have a low social status and continue to be institutionally marginalised and politically neglected.
It is for this reason that the Regional Sahel Pastoralism Support Project (PRAPS) was created. The programme has a budget of USD 248 million and is considered to be a direct consequence of the Nouakchott Declaration, which was signed in October 2013 by Sahel-Saharan heads of state and regional and international players. It concerns the six countries in the Sahel area: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.
The PRAPS project is fully consistent with the OIE’s strategic objectives
To factor in all the issues involved in the protection and promotion of pastoralism, the PRAPS was organised into five components. One of these works to improve animal health, a key priority for the populations concerned. The project has been implemented at the national level and is coordinated at the regional level by the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS).
The animal health improvement component (component 1) accounts for roughly 20% of the overall project budget. One of its distinctive features is that it was planned on the basis of the results and recommendations of the Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) evaluations and PVS gap analyses carried out by OIE experts over the last ten years in the countries concerned. These missions revealed numerous shortcomings and constraints, the major consequence of which has been the persistence and even propagation of most major animal diseases (including peste des petits ruminants [PPR], contagious bovine pleuropneumonia [CBPP], foot and mouth disease [FMD] and rabies).
To take account of the needs identified during the evaluation process, the animal health activities rolled out at national level have been organised into two main areas:
- Improving infrastructure and boosting the capacities of national Veterinary Services;
- Supporting the harmonised surveillance and control of two priority diseases, namely PPR and CBPP.
The regional coordination of animal health improvement activities was entrusted to the OIE, through the Regional Animal Health Centre of Bamako, as part of the partnership agreement between CILSS and the OIE. This agreement, which was signed on 23 October 2015 sets out the framework for the OIE’s management of this section of the programme.
By controlling and eradicating animal diseases such as PPR and CBPP and supporting pastoral communities – key players in livestock farming – the PRAPS project is fully consistent with the OIE’s strategic objectives.