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IAEA and African Union Commission Agree to Cooperate in Tsetse Fly Eradication

27 November 2009 | The African Union Commission (AUC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 25 November 2009 at the IAEA Headquarters in Vienna. The MOU defines the modalities of cooperation between the two organizations in support of Africa´s efforts to eradicate trypanosomiasis. Trypanosomiasis is a severe disease, transmitted by tsetse flies, which affects both people and domestic animals. It occurs in 35 African countries where it causes death, debility, diminished productivity and massive economic losses. It is widely recognized as one of the continent´s most serious constraints to socio-economic development. Speaking at the MOU signing ceremony, H.E. Mrs. Rhoda P. Tumusiime, Commissioner in charge of Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission, pointed out that the disease´s great negative impact on the lives and livelihoods of millions of Africa´s rural poor had inspired African governments to embark on a Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomias Eradication Campaign (PATTEC). She reported that several countries had already initiated action aimed at eradicating trypanosomiasis, including Botswana and Namibia, which have recently been successfully rendered tsetse and trypanosomiasis-free. While all the affected countries are committed to achieving the objectives of the PATTEC Initiative, most are severely burdened by a host of other health and development challenges and severely constrained by limitations in the availability of the human and financial resources required to effectively address the scourge of trypanosomiasis. The African Union Commission, which is mandated to promote and coordinate activities in the implementation of the PATTEC Initiative, is currently involved in efforts to mobilize support from Africa´s partners to consolidate and enhance the activities of the campaign. H.E. Tumusiime welcomed the IAEA´s support, cooperation and partnership in Africa´s struggle to achieve the objectives of PATTEC and gratefully acknowledged the work of the IAEA in providing technical leadership in the development and application of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) for use in the eradication of tsetse flies. She expressed her belief that the effectiveness of the two organizations in discharging the obligations of their respective mandates in the service of affected Member States would be greatly enhanced by the unified approach and closer cooperation as advocated in the Memorandum of Understanding. The cooperation between the AUC with the IAEA in support of the activities in the PATTEC Initiative will greatly enhance the capacity of African countries affected by trypanosomiasis in their efforts to achieve the long term goal of eliminating the scourge of trypanosomiasis from the continent once and for all. Signing for the IAEA, Ms. Ana María Cetto, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation, welcomed the Memorandum of Understanding as an operational framework that will provide modalities of closer cooperation between the IAEA and AUC in their respective mandates and common efforts to support affected African countries in the on-going war against trypanosomiasis. Ms. Cetto expressed the hope that the signed MOU will enable all concerned at both the AUC and IAEA to achieve closer and deeper cooperation and improved coordination of support to African Member States. Present at the signing of the MOU were Mr. Werner Burkart, IAEA Deputy Director General in charge of Nuclear Sciences and Applications; Mr. Qu Liang, Director, IAEA/FAO Joint Division; Mr. Ali Boussaha, Director of the Africa Division, Department of Technical Cooperation; Mr. Amha Mulugeta, Head, Africa Section, Department of Technical Cooperation; Mr. Jorge Hendrichs, Head, Insect and Pest Control Section, IAEA/FAO Joint Division; Dr John Kabayo, PATTEC Coordinator; Mr. Julius Kagamba, Special Assistant to the AUC Commissioner; and Mr Johannes Seybold, Section Head, Strategy and Partnerships, Department of Technical Cooperation. Related Resources: » Out of Africa, 26 November 2009