NEPAD Agency ABNE’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) held its annual meeting from 15 to 16 November, 2017 at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The meeting was officially opened by the TAC Chairman, Dr Dave Keetch and with Mr. Hambani Masheleni, Senior Policy Officer, Human Resources, Science and Technology, African Union (AU), Mr. Lawrence Kent, Senior Programme Officer from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and Dr Douglas Buhler, Director of AgBioResearch and Assistant Vice President of Research and Graduate Studies at Michigan State University (MSU) also in attendance.
In his opening remarks, Dr Keetch expressed his gratitude to the AU for hosting this year’s meeting and stated it was a privilege to once again meet with TAC members to assess the progress made by ABNE in the year 2017 and to provide the necessary guidance going forward. Mr Hambani Masheleni, on behalf of Dr Mahama Ouedraogo, Ag Director of the AU Human Resources, Science and Technology, welcomed his guests and assured the gathering that the AU would continue working closely with ABNE and would provide the continental policy platform support required by the ABNE programme for the implementation of functional biosafety regulatory systems in Africa. Mr. Lawrence Kent stated that the BMGF appreciates the impact made by the NEPAD Agency ABNE on the ground and values the strong commitment of the NEPAD leadership to ensure sustainability of the ABNE programme. Dr Buhler, affirmed MSU’s support for the ABNE initiative and expressed the
University’s commitment to strengthen this partnership and continue providing technical support, through training courses and international study tours.
During the meeting, TAC members had the opportunity to review ABNE’s 2017 annual report and make recommendations for the upcoming year 2018. Following two days of review and discussions, TAC commended the efforts of the ABNE management and staff for progress made in 2017. Support provided by ABNE to African countries for the implementation of functional biosafety regulatory systems was very much appreciated especially in countries like Cameroun, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Swaziland, Uganda, and Zambia.
Among the key recommendations made by TAC members was the need to remain focused on impact-oriented activities in 2018 and to partner with other biosafety service providers to ensure synergy and to leverage limited resources. TAC particularly supported the implementation of Experts’ networks across the continent to help extend ABNE’s support to African countries and encouraged ABNE to find the best ways to facilitate the contribution of these networks for a better impact on the ground.
Among other recommendations, TAC commended ABNE for the great work done to support the participation of African countries in during negotiations for the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Protocols. TAC further urged NEPAD Agency ABNE to continue working closely with AU Human Resources, Science and Technology to better optimize the participation of African countries to such important international negotiation fora.