Welcome to the closing session of the XI International Goat Conference.
In 2005, a new IGA strategic plan was developed. In retrospect, this strategic plan was very ambitious and consequently not all goals have been achieved as of today. Nevertheless, we have made great strides and we are optimistic about the future of IGA and of goats in this world.
Secondly, this conference is an affirmation of the current interest in goats and a showcase of scientific expertise. As you know, goat production is an important livestock sector in most developing countries. In addition, goats are also recognized internationally especially for the contribution they make to the livelihoods of resource-poor communities. Goat production systems currently face various challenges, including the increase of poverty in developing countries, the effects of climatic change and the global energy crisis. To address these challenges, interaction between scientists from different disciplines becomes crucial. Over 400 delegates from 50 countries submitted in excess of 500 contributions to the ICG, ranging from scientific presentations on goat nutrition, reproduction, health, management and genetics (18 sessions), to 5 roundtable discussions on social and environmental issues, 3 special seminars on the role of goats in the fight against poverty and a workshop on goat cheese sensorial evaluation. In addition, excellent information was displayed on attractive posters from many countries at the several poster sessions. During the technical tours delegates visited dairy goat farms in Gran Canaria and had the opportunity to interact with farmers and their animals.
I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the outstanding work of the members of the independent scientific committee led by Pierre Morand-Fehr, and further congratulate Pierre for his efforts and dedication to IGA.
Thirdly, social and economic issues were considered an integral part of the XI ICG and were added to the scientific program, an important step in this ever global and changing world. Sessions and roundtables were well attended and were closely related to the current challenges facing goats and goat producers worldwide.
In my opinion, the most important achievement over the last years has been the involvement of our organization, for the first time, in a project closely linked with the alleviation of poverty, which is one of the objectives of IGA. I am not going to speak here about the project itself because an interesting workshop was held on that subject during this conference. I only want to say that I consider this project as the first step of the new IGA vision and mission. Behind this project is the hard work accomplished by Jean-Paul Dubeuf to whom I would like to offer my sincere thanks.
Now we are starting a new four-year term. The last one was atypical because we had a world meeting in Recife in 2010. As a consequence, we didn't have regional conferences during that period. Of course, one of the objectives of IGA is to promote regional conferences, and I am happy to inform you that one of our new board member, Odd-Arild Finnes, is organizing a regional conference on goat milk quality that will take place in Norway in 2013. In addition, we also have received a proposal to sponsor a regional conference in Hungary and Romania in 2014, spearheaded by the board member from Romania, Stela Zamfirescu, and the country representative from Hungary, Sandor Kukovics. I think these will all be successful events and I encourage you all to attend them.
Another of our main objectives for the next term is to increase our involvement on goat development as a tool against poverty. Fortunately, Jean-Paul Dubeuf as IGA past president, is an active member of the board and he has accepted to continue to lead IGA activities in that direction.
Finally, we cannot forget an objective that has beset us: the promotion of our organization at the local, national and international level. This is not a challenge only for the president, the executive committee or the members of the board. It should be a challenge for all IGA members, and especially for our country representatives and regional directors. These representatives and directors need to be active in each area and this is not presently the case. Now that we have a new and dynamic board, our target should be to increase the activities of our organization around the world, regardless of the number of country representatives we have. The important element for IGA is to have a group of active leaders who are highly conscientious about pursuing our objectives. I know that achieving this objective will be difficult but not an impossible challenge as long as we all work together.
Now, I would like to recognize the contribution of the members of the outgoing board: Christie Peacock, Chris Lu, Jim De Vries and Ned Donkin. All have been deeply involved in IGA activities for many years. I wish them the best but at the same time I am also asking them to please continue to support IGA.
Next, I would like to introduce to you the members of the new IGA board: Beth Miller, Carina Visser, Felipe Torres Acosta, Giselle Alexandre, Herve Hoste, Lucia Sepe, Jean-Marie Luginbuhl, Jean-Paul Dubeuf (as past president), Johan Greyling (SRR editor-in-chief), Maria Norma Ribeiro, Nazan Koluman, Odd-Arild Finnes, Okeyo Mwai, Stela Zamfirescu, Tilahun Sahlu and Xu Gangyi.
I would also like to congratulate Nazan Koluman and Irfan Daskiran who represent Turkey, the country that will organize and host the XII International Conference on Goats in 2016. Turkey is a great country with millions of goats, unique management and production systems, and a relevant research community. Leading the organization of the next ICG is an active team with a wide background and experience working with goats. I have no doubt that this conference will be very successful and I encourage you to attend the XII International Conference on Goats in Antalaya in 2014. We would greatly appreciate your support.
Dr. Juan Capote