What, When, Where, Who?
At the moment, World Animal Net (WAN) is busy preparing to attend the United Nations Environment Assembly 3 (UNEA 3), which takes place in Nairobi, Kenya from 4-6 December. This year’s UNEA, which is the biennial event convened by UN Environment, is themed “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet” and brings together environmental ministers from member states around the world to find consensus on actions to globally solve the issue of pollution. In addition, this forum is a great opportunity for animal advocates to raise the issue of industrial animal agriculture, which is a major contributor to pollution of air, soil, and water, as well as being one of the major drivers of climate change.
WAN’s co-founder and director, Janice Cox, will attend and participate in the meetings. In addition, WAN is pleased to announce we’re teaming up with Compassion in World Farming, an international leader in farm animal protection, who will also be attending UNEA. We are also looking forward to collaborating with other UN Environment-accredited animal protection organizations, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare, World Animal Protection, and the African Network for Animal Welfare.
UNEA 3 is preceded by the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum, the key avenue for facilitation of civil society participation in UNEA, and a Science, Policy, and Business Forum, which brings together stakeholders to “promote and operationalize science-driven policies and innovations that address planetary challenges.”
The structure of UNEA is similar to that of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), which WAN attended earlier this year, in that it is preceded by a number of regional consultations and aims to result in a Ministerial Declaration—a consensus document endorsed by all member states. UNEA is interlinked with other UN bodies, processes, and conventions. For example, some proposed resolutions for this year’s UNEA build off of the 2016 Convention for Biological Diversity, and outcomes of UNEA will feed into the 2018 HLPF. Additionally, this year’s UNEA will be a unique opportunity for animal advocates because it closely follows the recent Africa Animal Welfare Conference, an event cohosted by UN Environment and the African Network for Animal Welfare, potentially setting the stage and increasing receptivity of the forum to discussions of animal welfare.
What is WAN Doing to Advocate for Animals at UNEA 3?
WAN is busy in preparations for the conference in three specific ways.
Major Groups and Stakeholders
Civil Society participation in UNEA is facilitated by the Major Groups and Stakeholders (MGS) system, similar to the HLPF Major Groups and Other Stakeholders (MGoS) system. As an accredited non-governmental organization (NGO), WAN is working collaboratively with other NGOs though the Women’s Major Group and the NGO Major Group to collectively submit statements and comments on draft resolutions, the draft ministerial declaration, and more.
In addition, both the Women’s Major Group and NGO Major Group drafted statements and presented a summary of these statements to the UN Environment Committee of Permanent Representatives. We are pleased that the NGO Major Group’s statement and presentation strongly identified the various pollution issues caused by industrial animal agriculture and offered concrete policy recommendations to ameliorate these issues. We will continue pressing for strong language regarding industrial animal agriculture through both of these channels.
WAN has also prepared a background paper on pollution and industrial animal agriculture, and a series of short, topic-specific briefs, which will be forwarded to relevant stakeholders ahead of the Assembly and will be on-hand to educate attendees of UNEA and other civil society organizations, and hopefully, government representatives and delegates as well.
In addition to collaborating with other NGOs through the Major Groups and Stakeholders system, UNEA also allows for accredited organizations to submit contributions to the resolutions in their own right. There are already 16 proposed resolutions, and WAN is currently preparing our own comments and recommendations to those with intersections across animal welfare and industrial animal agriculture.
How Can Animal Protection Organizations Get Involved in Animal Advocacy at UNEA?