The final regional preparatory meeting of the UN’s 2017 High Level Political Forum (HLPF) took place in Addis Ababa from 17-19 May 2017, hosted by the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa. Being based in South Africa, I attended this on behalf of World Animal Net (WAN), after discovering that no other African Animal Protection Organisations (APOs) were planning to attend.
As the UN’s 2017 High Level Political Forum (HLPF) draws near, regional preparatory meetings that feed into the HLPF are taking place around the world. Just two weeks ago, from 3-5 May, the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development took place in Rabat, Morocco. We were pleased to partner with RAPAD Morocco (the French acronym for the Associative Network for Animal Welfare and Sustainable Development), a national federation covering both animal protection and sustainability issues based in Morocco, who was able to attend the Forum and ensure that animals had a voice there.
Animal Protection Organizations (APOs) across the world were once again disappointed when the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were agreed by UN member countries back in September 2015. These included no specific mention of Animal Welfare (AW), and no recognition of animal sentience. Instead, animals were lumped in with “natural resources”, and treated as if they were no more than inanimate objects to be divvied up for human use and profit. We were not alone in our disappointment, as other NGOs also pointed to the anthropocentric nature of the goals, and the fact that they overlook the central importance of nature and animals to our world and our humanity.
As the leading intergovernmental organization promoting human and environmental rights, you would have expected the United Nations (UN) to give proper consideration to animal welfare issues – particularly bearing in mind the many cross-cutting issues involved and the number of intersections between animal welfare and human rights and the environment. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
As has been discussed previously on the blog, World Animal Net’s Janice Cox was invited as a panelist on animal welfare to the recent World Bank Global Practice Forum, which took place in March in Washington, DC.
WAN participated in the 2014 People’s Climate March, where we brought a giant inflatable cow emblazoned with the words, “I’m full of greenhouse gases, do you have steak in it?” Three years later, we are proud partners of the People’s Climate March, which will take place April 29th. There will be numerous marches in the United States, but also around the world. As partners of the March, we want to take the opportunity to call on animal advocates to take part in the March.
The African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resource (AU-IBAR) recently hosted a retreat to review a draft animal welfare strategy and action plan for the entire continent. This took place from 6-8 March in Naivasha, Kenya. Participants included member states from the region, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Regional Economic Communities, and a number of major animal protection organisations. World Animal Net (WAN) was represented by Nick de Souza, veterinarian and experienced African animal protectionist. Tozie Zokufa, the President of the Pan African Animal Welfare Alliance (PAAWA), and a member of WAN’s International Policy Forum, also attended.
I have some exciting news which I want to share with you!
I have just returned from Washington, D.C., where I was invited to speak about animal welfare at this year’s World Bank Agricultural Global Practice Forum. There were three speakers on animal welfare. I opened the session, speaking about animal welfare as an important ethical, societal and policy concern. Then, a speaker from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations introduced the benefits of including animal welfare in development, followed by a presentation from the International Finance Corporation which included a lending case study.