AAWC 2021 Concept

5th AFRICA ANIMAL WELFARE CONFERENCE – ACTION 2021.

Venue: Both virtual and Physical

  • Virtual

  • Physical - Accra International Conference Centre, Accra, Ghana.

Dates - November 1 - 3, 2021.

Theme: One Health, One Welfare-for a better and greener tomorrow.


  • Background

    Background

    AAWCAfrica is increasingly coming alive in matters of development driven by the swift wind of globalization. The Continent, with its endowment of natural resources, a generally tech- savvy and youthful population, diverse animals, rich soils, mineral wealth, pristine environments, pleasant weather, a vibrant political leadership and academic rejuvenation that thirsts to do things right, is clearly on its way to achieving progress in multiple fronts. It also has an emerging consciousness in the areas of development, environmental conservation, animal welfare, food security and health. In relation to this, and recognizing the critical role of animals in the economies of African states, African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) spearheaded efforts to develop the Animal Welfare Strategy for Africa [AWSA] as a way of consolidating synergy towards better Animal Welfare in Africa. Governments and Civil societies in the continent are currently at various stages of domesticating the implementation of AWSA, coordinated through the African Platform for Animal Welfare (APAW).

    The Africa Animal Welfare Conference (AAWC), now in its fourth year, has steadily emerged as a major forum for practitioners and stakeholders in animal welfare to engage and build capacity in this sector, and furthermore, to relate the sector to relevant actors in development. From the first Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2017 to the third Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2019, the conference has steadily evolved as a premier platform for ventilating key concerns in animal welfare, wildlife and environmental conservation, human health and matters of sustainable development in Africa.

    Over this period, some key concerns have taken significance during discussions in the conferences. They include:

    1. The need to promote sustainable production and consumption of food in the African continent
    2. The recognition that Animal Welfare is a crucial matter that calls for mainstreaming in development across Africa
    3. The need for United Nations Environment (UNEP) to embrace animal welfare as a substantive issue that merits discussion at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) platforms
    4. The need for concerted efforts to pursue partnerships with humanitarian agencies so as to improve Animal Welfare, and especially Animals in Disaster situations because they are often neglected.

    The Conferences have offered a vibrant platform for discussion on Animal Welfare issues against the backdrop of Human Health and the Environment, giving a fresh outlook to the One Health concept with a clear definition of the link between human-health, animals and the environment.

  • The 5th Africa Animal Welfare Conference - Action 2021

    The 5th Africa Animal Welfare Conference - Action 2021

    Theme: One Health, One Welfare-for a better and greener tomorrow.

    Animal welfare is steadily emerging as a major aspect of policy development and discussion in Africa. It is beginning to get respectable and consistent mentions in many development discourses today, and this is helped by the fact that the people of Africa are closely intertwined with animals in their daily lives. An Africa without animals seems unfathomable because the continent and her people have enjoyed special relationships with them from time immemorial, and this prevails to the current times. It is noteworthy that even with the rapid pace of infrastructural and other forms of development activities taking place across Africa, most people in the continent still relate in some way to animals in in terms of their lives and/or livelihoods.

    In recent times, there have been various concerted efforts to bring to formal light the key role of animals and the matter of animal welfare as an overall developmental, environmental and human health and wellbeing matter in Africa. The clearest demonstration of this was that the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) successfully spearheaded efforts to develop the Animal Welfare Strategy for Africa as a way of consolidating synergy towards better Animal Welfare in Africa. Governments and civil society in Africa are currently at various stages of domesticating the implementation of the Animal Welfare Strategy for Africa (AWSA), coordinated through the Africa Platform for Animal Welfare.

    Among the pertinent issues across the continent is the drive to consciously link better care of animals, the environment and people as interdependent and necessary components of a thriving universe for all. The Covid-19 pandemic that first - made its appearance in 2020 has brought new and more urgent dimensions into the discussion around the inextricable linkages between animal welfare and human and environmental well-being; as report by UNEP/ILRI denotes; “pandemics such as the COVID-19 outbreak are a predictable and predicted outcome of how people source and grow food, trade and consume animals, and alter environments”.  The pandemic has therefore offered necessary lessons regarding the urgency and need to treat animals and our environment with protection and precaution, because any amount of mishandling in any part of the world can impact the entire universe with devastating implications.

    It therefore cannot be lost on policy-makers and billions of people that animal welfare, environmental health and human health are all part of a delicate circle of survival that must be treated with care and kindness to ensure the continuation of life on earth and enjoy the attendant benefits of this intricate ecosystem.

    In this context, the Africa Animal Welfare Conference (AAWC) confidently wades into the picture as a crucial facilitating forum for the examination of an array of matters coalescing around animal welfare, environmental preservation and human health and developmental issues. This premier Conference, which is now in its 5th year, has taken the apex position as a conglomeration of scholars, practioners, students, government officials, civil society, intergovernmental agencies and interested stakeholders, all actively involved in cross-cutting matters related to animal welfare improvement and environmental conservation, with attendant benefits to human well-being and development in Africa

    From the first Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2017, the AAWC has inked itself as a must attend event in the continent’s annual calendar, especially for animal welfare and environmental stakeholders. It therefore occupies a nodal point as a resource congregation of matters concerning topical and pertinent issues in animal welfare and the environment. The second Conference was also held in Nairobi in 2018, while the third took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2019. The fourth Conference was held as a virtual event for the first time ever in September 2020, occasioned by the COVID-19 situation.

    Over this period, a number of key concerns have taken on significance during discussions in the conferences. They include:

    • The need to recognise the interrelatedness of animals, the environment and human health and therefore focus on attending to them as part of a delicately balanced and mutually connected system of life.
    • The need to promote sustainable consumption and production of food in the African continent.
    • The recognition that Animal Welfare is a crucial matter that calls for mainstreaming in development across Africa.
    • The need for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to embrace animal welfare as a substantive issue that merits discussion at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) and in other policy platforms.
    • The need for concerted efforts to pursue partnerships with humanitarian agencies so as to improve Animal Welfare, and especially animals in conflict and disaster situations because these are often neglected.
    • The need to recognise that all human beings have a responsibility to improve the welfare of animals and protect the environment.
    • That an increasing consciousness exists towards embracing more natural solutions and less use of chemicals in order to preserve the environment and hence improve the health of animals and human beings.

    The philosophy of the Conference is premised on the Five Freedoms of animal welfare and the underlying recognition that animals are sentient beings and should not be subjected to any form of suffering.


The 5th Africa Animal Welfare Conference-Action 2021

Theme: One Health, One Welfare-for a better and greener tomorrow

Africa is experiencing a steady population surge, and with this comes a growing demand for food and space for living, working and general development. Added to this is the ever-present expansion of infrastructure to meet the requirements of the race towards modernity. Moreover, the ballooning population exerts pressure on the land and environment due to the demand for more food. Animals, being a key source of protein and nourishment in Africa, are increasingly being consumed, with intensive production methods gaining ground to satisfy the escalating demand.

With this intensified consumption follow on attendant challenges such as the heightened risk of zoonotic infections. Increased use of antibiotics to mitigate animal health challenges has also become a hazard due to the emerging incidence of anti-microbial resistance; this eventually impacts human and environmental health. This situation, left unchecked, will spiral into a vortex of health complications and therefore urgent intervention must be paramount to remedy the potential catastrophe. Expanding food production and more consumption of animal-based foods also leads to loss of forests and grasslands, alongside rising demands for land and water. This means risks of biodiversity loss and habitats for wildlife shrinking or disappearing.

Rapid population increase in Africa has also put pressure on natural resources, leading encroachment to conservation areas and wildlife corridors, and ultimately biodiversity loss. As a result, human-wildlife conflicts have become rampant in areas close to protected areas. On the other hand, interaction with wildlife through illegal means is also evident at the local at global levels. Bushmeat, which is a delicacy to some communities, and to others the only source of affordable protein, has been on the increase, despite the fact that food safety measures are rarely taken into consideration. At the global scale, the illegal wildlife trade remains an issue of concern, representing one of the major trans-national economic crimes and threats to the survival wildlife species, while also being linked to emergence and spread of infectious diseases.

The COVID-19 pandemic that started in 2020 with its effects in 2021, was a clear wake up call to take immediate action regarding our treatment of animals and the environment. The world today needs no clearer reminder than the pandemic that the relationship between humans, animals and the environment is critically intertwined and therefore essential to the overall survival of all of us. The resounding message has been witnessed globally: that a disruption or manipulation of any part of the environment or animals in even seemingly innocent ways can easily snowball into a gargantuan crisis of universal proportions.

As highlighted in the theme, the 2021 Conference will catalyze discussions on the vital need to recognise that human, animal and environmental well-being are inter-connected and cannot be disjointed without a backlash. The One Welfare concept is of particular interest and attention now because it extends beyond the health aspect to consider wider linkages between human wellbeing, animal welfare and the environment, including issues such as: food security, food safety, livelihoods, climate change and biodiversity. This is an essential concept in Africa because matters of food security, food safety and development occupy an apex position in the continent’s regular policy discourse. The Conference proceedings will seek to remind participants that in the process of improving the well-being of humans, there must be corresponding effort, consciousness and investment in advancing the welfare of the environment and animals to ensure harmony with nature. The alternative could easily plunge us down an unfathomable abyss of disaster.


Conference Objectives

  1. To provide delegates with an opportunity to discuss pertinent matters regarding animal welfare, environmental conservation and human health and development through three-days participatory conference dialogues.
  2. To evaluate and demonstrate progress towards mainstreaming Animal Welfare in the United Nations system, the status of the adoption and implementation of the Animal Welfare Strategy for Africa (AWSA) and to champion the Africa Platform for Animal Welfare initiative.
  3. To assess and document the progress of agreed resolutions from the 2020 Conference. 
  4. To review the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and how this is and should be informing and influencing decisions and actions on animal welfare, environmental and human well-being in Africa.
  5. To demonstrate the interconnection of the health and welfare of animals, the environment, and the people’s well-being and what this must mean for policy and practice now and throughout the decade to 2030.



Approaches

The Conference proceedings will take multiple approach that will include:

1. Presentations, research findings, case studies and experiential sessions on the interaction of animal welfare, environmental conservation, and human health.

2. Presentations, discussions, and experiential sessions on the lessons learned from COVID-19 and its influence on policy decisions and actions in Africa.

3. Moderated panel sessions and discussion on general interest issues that are thematically related to animal welfare, environmental conservation and people’s wellbeing and development.

Expected Outputs

    • Report of the Conference proceedings, Conference resolutions and Conference brief.
    • List of Delegates participating by nationalities.
    • Increased interest in and profile of animal welfare across Africa, demonstrated through involvement of a significant number of government representatives, civil society, and other stakeholders in the Conference.
    • Press release on the Conference to enhance publicity for the importance of animal welfare issues in Africa.
    • Popularisation and recognition of the One Health - One Welfare Concept as a desirable and practical framework for the improvement of animal welfare, environmental conservation and human welfare and development in Africa.

Outcomes Desired

  1. Enhanced sensitization, commitments and implementation by government and stakeholders regarding the agreements reached and adopted as resolutions to improve animal welfare, environmental conservation and human well-being in Africa.
  2. Stronger support for animal welfare across Africa demonstrated through involvement of government representatives, civil society and broad section of stakeholders in the Conference and other regional UN forums and intergovernmental meetings that will eventually result to a fresh resolve and commitment to pursue the implementation of the Animal Welfare Strategy for Africa.
  3. The adoption of animal welfare as a thematic area of the United Nations.
  4. Build lasting and satisfactory collaborations, partnerships and other engagements to advance and promote best practice in animal welfare, environmental conservation and human welfare and development in Africa.

Audience

The conference will therefore host a rich array of high calibre expertise in various disciplines in animal welfare, environment and human welfare and development.

The organizers target the attendance of at least 500 participants from diverse backgrounds notably civil society groups involved in animal welfare and environmental conservation, NGOs, government officials and government affiliated institutions, academics, researchers, media, policy makers, legal practitioners, community members, interest groups, medics, development practitioners and other stakeholders.

Conference Organization

This conference is organsied under the auspices of the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW), the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It is coordinated through the Conference Organsing Committee based in Nairobi, Kenya and a supporting Organising Committee based in Ghana. It has the goodwill of the governments of both Kenya and Ghana.


The participants are also expected to have an optional educational field visit to learn about animals and animal welfare in Ghana.


AAW Conference

Africa Animal Welfare Conference is an annual conference co-hosted by Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) in collaboration with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) for professionals and practitioners, coming together to discuss issues that cut across animal welfare, wildlife and environmental conservation.

Office Locations

Kifaru House,

House Number 137,

Milima Road, Hardy-Karen,

Nairobi, Kenya.