We are pleased to announce the release of a new resource, Guidance for Animal Protection Organizations: Engaging the United Nations High Level Political Forum and the Sustainable Development Agenda, providing information on how animal protection organizations can engage the Sustainable Development Agenda at the United Nations. The Sustainable Development Agenda is a useful policy stream for animal protection organizations to become active in because of the many areas in which sustainable development intersects with animal wellbeing. The Sustainable Development Agenda, also called the 2030 Agenda, contains 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), each of which comprises Targets (what needs to be achieved for the goal to be fully implemented) and Indicators (how can that achievement be measured).
The 17 SDGs can be viewed on the sustainable development website, but here are just a few of the intersections worth noting:
- SDG 1 (poverty) – people around the world relying on animals for their livelihoods
- SDG 2 (food security) – people relying on animals for food, but also the disruption to equitable food systems that is caused by industrialized animal agriculture
- SDG 3 (health) – antimicrobial resistance caused by animal agriculture, diseases related to diets high in animal products, zoonotic diseases such as rabies
- SDG 6 (water) – animal agriculture’s massive use of fresh water resources, as well as its contribution to water pollution
- SDG 9 (innovation) – innovation needed to create more humane, non-animal alternatives to our current food system.
- SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production) – the need to shift consumption patterns away from unsustainable and inhumane uses of animals
- SDG 13 (climate change) – animal agriculture’s huge contribution to greenhouse gases and climate change
- SDG 14 (life below water) – “harvesting” of fish from the oceans, plus detrimental impacts to oceans and marine mammals from intensive farming pollution and run-offs
- SDG 15 (life on land) – protection of wildlife, conservation, and ending wildlife trafficking
- SDG 16 (peaceful and inclusive societies) – societies that live in harmony with nature, respecting humans, animals and nature
As you can see, there are a lot of different angles that animal protection organizations can use to advocate for the inclusion of animal wellbeing in this agenda. By ensuring the mainstreaming of animal welfare in sustainable development through raising awareness about the above and other issues, we can move the conversation forward at UN level, and spur member states to take action on animal wellbeing. Concrete action on animal wellbeing at the UN will create a moral imperative and drive the conversation about the status of animals in human society forward on international, regional and national levels.
The annual review of implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda, the High Level Political (HLPF) Forum, takes place each July in New York, at UN Headquarters, with numerous opportunities for input leading up to this event starting as early as January. The 2018 HLPF will take place from Monday 9th July to Wednesday 18th July. We attended last year’s HLPF and are now keen to get more organizations involved in the process in order to amplify the message for animals, which is why we’ve produced this Guide, and why we are also co-organizing the new Animal Issues Thematic Cluster (AITC) at the UN along with Thinking Animals United and Nonviolence International.
This Guide outlines the key opportunities both leading up to and during the HLPF, with notes on what has been done previously, and what actions need to be taken by the animal protection movement in 2018. The Guide also aims to make the jargon and confusing interlinkages at the UN more easily understandable.
As co-organizers of the AITC, we’re working to ensure that no advocacy opportunity for animals is missed, and that no animal protection organization is left behind on this new UN adventure. We’ll be holding monthly member meetings leading up to the HLPF, as well as coordinating inputs and opportunities, and making sure that the necessary information is easily available.
Also, be sure to check out the previous Guidance document we’ve prepared on how to engage your National Animal Welfare Delegates and Focal Points from the World Organisation for Animal Health, available for download here.