Mr. Carlos Seré is the Director General of the International Livestock Research Institute. He presents his organisation’s aim of using livestock as a development tool to address poverty and food security. He highlights the strong potential of this meeting to raise issues in terms of the difficulties and the trade-offs between developing domestic vs. international markets, between developing commercial vs. smallholder production, etc. He also insists on the potential which exists to improve mixed farming systems. He ends by hoping that the issues raised will feed into political debates in the future and in the Copenhagen discussion about climate change, as although smallholders are likely to be affected, there is also potential for developing a win-win situation.
Mr. Howard Batho is a veterinarian working in the Directorate General for Health and Consumers in the European Commission, in the unit responsible for animal health. He talks about the EU’s import policy from third countries and rebuffs the accusation that is it is a “fortress Europe”. Mr. Batho highlights that the EU is very flexible with partners it trusts, which is done by carrying out inspections and laying down specific public and animal health rules in relation to the countries concerned. Many training opportunities exist to help third countries adapt to EU requirements. Mr. Batho ends by insisting that the EU is open to trade and that it needs to import from third countries. His responsibility is to ensure that these imports are safe for the health of consumers and animals.
Mr. Eric Thys from the Tropical Medicine Institute in Antwerp is also engaged in the Be Troplive platform which aims to promote livestock in tropical countries; he is also part of the ELIDEV group. He talks about some of the challenges facing livestock such as the need to help livestock contribute to poverty reduction and such as the importance of finding solutions to problems of climate change. His message can be summarised as the necessity to put livestock back on the agenda for decision makers and to find solutions to mitigate the negative effects of livestock.
(Interview in French)
Mr. Francis Asiedu from the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI) presented the main activities of his organisation which conducts research on agricultural issues and then passes on the information to producers in the Caribbean region. He gives his view about the importance of such Briefings which address specific topics, as they allow for the sharing of information, of experiences and for networking opportunities with ACP ambassadors and actors from professional bodies.
Ms Madelon Meijer is a policy adviser at Oxfam Novib. She points out how the meeting has made clear that livestock is important for poverty alleviation. She talks to us about the potential advantages for the livestock sector as well as the likely challenges it will face. The boom in demand for meat represents a huge opportunity but the livestock sector will not be able to take advantage of this without greater investment. The externalities of the livestock sector also need to be looked at in terms of social and environmental impacts. Some of the challenges mentioned include the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and for regulation to take into account the considerations of ACP governments and civil society.
Mr. Philippe Steinmetz works at the DG DEV in the European Commission, on themes relating to livestock, SPS agreements and biotechnologies. He underlines the importance of this Briefing to exchange relevant and up-to-date information, but also to change the largely negative opinion of livestock of partners and decision makers. As a member of the group ELIDEV, which regroups Experts from the EC and member states, he presents their output which focuses on communication. An informative booklet on livestock covers the main themes in view of making policy makers realise the importance of the sector.
(Interview in French)
Mr. Pier Paolo Ficarelli works in the German Development Cooperation and is present here as a member of ELIDEV. He talks to us about the pamphlet which has emerged from their project, advocating the livestock sector, and about the important communication opportunity this Briefing represents by being held in the EC. He justifies the title of the pamphlet “Thinking differently about the livestock sector” by arguing that livestock is not a threat to the future, but is key to help feed the planet and can also be a response to climate change. He calls for funding and political support to help find new solutions for the livestock sector.