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.
In this blog, I am delighted to introduce my personal favourite from amongst World Animal Net (WAN)’s projects! This is a Humane Education (HE) pilot project which we are carrying out in Malawi over the 2016-2017 school year, with a wide-ranging and thorough professional evaluation guided by international and Malawian experts. We are already seeing great results from this project, and look forward to the final report in mid 2017. In the meantime, we wanted to share with you this update, which was prepared for our Malawian partners - as this gives more background on the project and its progress.
At World Animal Net, one of our key initiatives is to help animal protection organizations around the world better understand and leverage international policy opportunities to improve the lives of animals. Unfortunately, WAN was unable to personally attend the recent Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Marrakech. However, we are pleased that our colleagues Tozie Zokufa of Humane Society International, the Pan African Animal Welfare Alliance, and member of WAN’s International Policy Forum and Caroline Wimberly of Brighter Green were kind enough to prepare reports of their experiences and work at the convention as well as outcomes and future directions for advocacy at the UNFCCC with the wider animal protection community.
WAN is pleased to announce a new resource on our website! This is “Best Practice for Animal Welfare Development and Implementation", which pulls together some of the Best Practice (or more accurately “Best Available Practice”!) on animal welfare in order to help a wide range of stakeholders to incorporate animal welfare in their work.
Advocates around the world have made amazing strides for animals this year. From the U.S. ending government-funded experiments on chimpanzees, to the end of animal sacrifice in Nepal’s Gadhimai festival, 2015 was a big year for animals.
The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) recently granted World Animal Net Special Consultative Status. Since 2001, when World Animal Net was first granted consultative status, we have worked to build partnerships and collaborative relations at the United Nations. Our elevated status will increase our capacity to represent animal protection interests through intergovernmental advocacy. We are also pleased that FOUR PAWS International, another animal protection organization, has also recently received Special Consultative Status.
As 2014 comes to a close, we at WAN recognize that there is much work to do to make the world a better place for animals in 2015 and beyond – see our Twelve Wishes for 2015. At the same time we are thrilled to celebrate tremendous victories for animals in all corners of the globe. Many of these victories came about after the tireless efforts of the animal protection community that we are dedicated to serving. Our top picks are below: