Increasing demand for animal-source foods, the diminishing agricultural land in relation to the growing human population and the impact of climatic variability are together placing increased pressure on the natural resource base on which agricultural production depends. If not well managed, the intensification of livestock production, over-harvesting of fisheries resources, over-use of wildlife biodiversity and consequential impacts on the resource base will increasingly lead to degradation of natural resource and ecosystem, including loss of critical genetic diversity and social equity.
The need to strengthen capacities in policy analysis, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation is recognized as a key priority area for sustainable animal resources and socio-economic development in Africa. Sound policies as well as strong institutions with clearly defined functional partnerships are vital to sustainable production, use and management of animal resources.
Open access or unregulated use of animal resources, especially in the case of small-scale fisheries, harvesting of bush meat and opportunistic use of communal land, create a recipe for over-fishing, over-hunting and over-grazing.
The Animal Resource Production Systems and Ecosystem Management programme, a direct result of the 2014 AU-IBAR Strategic Plan, will contribute to regional and continent-wide strategic frameworks and cooperation agreements that will ensure sustainable management and conservation of Africa's animal resources and their ecosystems. The programme will also aim to establish relevant strategies for the development of animal resources (livestock, non-conventional livestock, wildlife, apiculture, fisheries & aquaculture) and facilitate/support integration in national agricultural investment plans.
The successful delivery of this programme will realize the following:
- Continental strategies and frameworks for sustainable utilization, management, and conservation improvement of animal resources implemented
- Developed strategies to promote sustainable production systems for animal resources, including livestock, fisheries and aquaculture and wildlife developed
- Effectively exploited opportunities for animal resources to bring livelihood benefits through payments for ecological services, including coral reefs in coastal habitats
- Strengthened capacity for the management and conservation for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in AU MSs and regional bodies
- Formulated strategies for combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and fostering responsible fisheries and sustainable management practices for the utilization of natural resources
- Encouraged adoption of the AU Policy Framework on Pastoralism
- Facilitated adoption and implementation of the Pan African Fisheries Policy Framework and Reform Strategy
- Built resilience for coping with and adaptation to climate change and other disasters amongst communities dependent on animal resources