Africa Animal Welfare Conference - 2020 Concept


Virtual Conference; September 7- 10, 2020.

Theme: Animal Welfare, Wildlife and Environmental Conservation for Sustainable Development in Africa: Enhancing Nature-Based Solutions

Venue and Date

The 4th Africa Animal Welfare Conference -Action 2020 is set to be held from 7-10  September 2020 as the first ever virtual animal welfare conference in Africa. Whereas a physical conference was envisioned as has been the norm, this became impractical due the COVID-19 health crisis.

  • 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 4th Africa Animal Welfare Conference - Action 2020

    The 4th Africa Animal Welfare Conference - Action 2020

    Theme: Animal Welfare, Wildlife and Environmental Conservation for Sustainable Development in Africa: Enhancing Nature-Based Solutions.

    In Africa, animals are an essential livelihood support and are deeply embedded in the overall socio-economic structure of the communities. In recent times though, there are concerns that with rapid industrialization and the changing nature of African economies, their welfare is getting increasingly compromised.

    Animal Welfare, as a concept is rapidly gaining interest in Africa, and the time has come to define Animal Welfare in terms of development, food security and health related issues. As the African population grows steadily, there is more pressure on land and resources for production. The commercialization of agriculture and desire for mass food production is also resulting in the inclination towards factory farming, which has been shown to compromise animal welfare, and an increase in the use of chemicals in industrial agriculture and general food production, all of which have been shown to increase the hazards to human and environmental welfare. Mechanization of food systems is getting intense hence leaving in its wake environmental and health challenges in terms of pollution from fossil fuels and degradation of the soil structure.

    The observation has been that with developmental advancements, comes consequent challenges. In Africa, there is imminent challenge of feeding people without increasing pollution of water sources, or even depleting them or lowering their water quality, maintaining the soil integrity and making sure that the welfare of animals is not compromised, and that health of the people remains a paramount concern. The protection of public health remains a paramount concern, especially with the emergence of dreadful pandemics such as the current COVID-19 which are increasingly getting associated with poor animal welfare and the destruction of ecosystems.

    There is therefore the need to promote natural solutions, in our pursuits for food production and other developments to suit our needs. This will help protect the integrity of our soils, water bodies and environment. There is need to develop and promote nature-based solutions to ensure enhanced animal welfare, human health, environmental conservation, and development.

    The conference will therefore focus on the role of animals and their relationship to conservation, health, livelihoods, and sustainable development, and looking at what solutions are offered by nature to mitigate the current threats to the ecosystem in general. The conference will hold dialogues on livelihoods’ support systems and the attainment of sustainable development and leveraging on better animal welfare for sustainable development. It is envisioned that the discussions emanating from the sessions will center around the connection of animals to overall socio-economic development in Africa and point out the unused and perhaps unstated potential that can be harnessed from animals to make them a core element in the development agenda of the continent while at the same time taking cognizant of their wellbeing. This will be expected to spiral into greater interest and investment in improving Animal Welfare in Africa, and consequently lead to better human and environmental health while spurring debate on the role of nature in solving the daily challenges we encounter as humanity.

Conference Objectives

  1. To assess the implications of COVID-19 pandemic and future zoonoses on human health, animal welfare, wildlife and environmental conservation and their threat to attainment of sustainable development.
  2. To illustrate the progress in harnessing the link between animal welfare, wildlife and environmental conservation, human and animal health and sustainable development in Africa.
  3. To establish a focused and well-informed caucus of animal welfare practitioners and stakeholders who are cognizant of prevailing developments in all aspects of this sector.
  4. To assess the role of using natural solutions in achieving our desires for food security and tackling the challenges of development in Africa. 
  5. To illustrate progress towards mainstreaming Animal Welfare in the United Nations and Member States across Africa and championing the gains realized through the African Platform for Animal Welfare (APAW).
  6. To establish the role of governments, individuals, organizations, and communities in achieving responsible use of animals, improving animal welfare, and supporting environmental conservation in Africa.


The conference will employ a multiplicity of approaches to achieve these objectives. These include:

1.      Moderated online panel sessions with the opportunity for questions and answers to identify and develop interventions and resolutions on how to mitigate animal welfare and environmental challenges posed by the development process in Africa.

2.      Online Presentations, discussion, and presentation of case studies on the food security situation across Africa, the role of animals in this, the increased commercialization of agriculture and the impact of this on the environment and animal welfare.

3.      Presentations, research findings, case studies and experiential sessions on the interaction of animal welfare, environmental conservation, and sustainable development.

4.      Presentations and case studies on the use of natural solutions to mitigate food security, environmental degradation, and developmental challenges

5.      Presentations, discussions, and experiential sessions on the link between animal welfare, environmental degradation, and disease pandemics (COVID-19).

The deliberations at the Conference will attempt to, among others, respond to the following broad questions:

1. What are the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on Africa’s development agenda?

2. To what extent will it be practical to use natural solutions in attending to Africa’s food demands and development agenda?

3. To what extent are animal keeping communities involved in promoting animal welfare and what more can be done do to raise their participation in development across Africa?

4.      What is the current status and impact of commercial agriculture in Africa’s food production system and is this likely to prevail for the foreseeable future?

5.      Are natural solutions currently applicable in addressing animal welfare, environmental and food security concerns in Africa? If so, to what extent and what are the results and probable avenues for upscaling this uptake?

6.      Is the extraction of wildlife from the wild significantly affecting natural ecosystems?

Expected Outputs

    • Heightened awareness on the drivers and consequences of global pandemics and their link to animal welfare and environmental conservation.
    • Enhanced interest for animal welfare across Africa demonstrated through involvement of government representatives, civil society, and broad section of stakeholders in the Conference.  
    • Conference report, conference resolutions, peer reviewed journal and policy brief that will inform and guide governments and other development actors to consider Animal Welfare in the continent’s development strategy.
    • Statement recognizing the connection between animal welfare, food security and development and how this will be applied in development policies across the continent.
    • Comment on the viability of natural solutions to food security, environmental conservation, and development challenges in Africa.
    • Listing of representation by different nationalities.
    • Call for implementation of One Health, One Welfare as a framework for an integrated wellbeing of both human and animals.

Expected Outcomes

    • Enhanced support for animal welfare across Africa demonstrated through involvement of government representatives, civil society and broad section of stakeholders in the AAW Conference, regional community forums, UN forums and intergovernmental meetings leading to a renewed commitment to pursue the implementation of the Animal Welfare Strategy for Africa.
    • A commitment to disrupt the food systems causing animals to suffer and to cause the commodification of wildlife to the extent that there is an increased threat to ecosystems and a threat of more pandemics in the future
    • Increased sensitization on the contribution of animals and Animal Welfare and environmental conservation in Africa to sustainable development and food security..
    • Enhanced interest and involvement in Animal Welfare and biodiversity conservation by governments in Africa through policy development and implementation.
    • Better understanding by the government representatives, regional community, and intergovernmental bodies of the greater link between the Animal Welfare, biodiversity conservation and human health- COVID-19 being a strong example.


The conference will be a congregation of multi-disciplinary interaction, expertise and interest in thematic areas cutting across Animal Welfare, Wildlife and Environmental Conservation and sustainable development, including civil society groups, NGOs, government officials and representatives of government affiliated institutions, members of UNEP’s Committee of Permanent Representatives, members of Regional Economic Communities, academia, researchers, media, policy makers, community members, interest groups, development practitioners, students in tertiary institutions and relevant stakeholders.
The conference will provide the space and ambience to cater for a projection of 500 participants or more to deliberate on the issues of Animal Welfare, wildlife and environmental conservation amidst the development inter-play.

Conference Organization

The conference planning is coordinated by Africa Network for Animal Welfare and partners through the Conference Organizing Committee (CoC), and cohosted with the United Nations Environment Programme and the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources.

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

Riverine Nature Reserve,

Number 137,

Milima Road, Hardy-Karen,

Nairobi, Kenya.