Africa Animal Welfare Conference (AAWC) - Action 2022 Concept Note

Introduction and Background

Africa has a rich presence of animals, both domestic and wild, that are living with the people spread across all communities within the continent. Additionally, animals make significant contribution to the livelihoods of most people in Africa and their value is steadily gaining interest and finding its way into many conversations about development in Africa. This is also helped in a very significant way by the growing consciousness about the interlink between people, animals and the environment, and the reality of a shared destiny in this web of interaction.

The Africa Animal Welfare Conference (AAWC), now in its 6th run, has steadily gained ground as a premier continental forum for discussion of animal welfare, and with it the related contexts of health, sustainable development and environmental conservation in Africa. From the first conference held in Nairobi ,Kenya in 2017,to the 2021 conference in Accra, Ghana, the AAWC has offered a vibrant platform for articulation of a broad array of issues including the place of animals in Africa’s development  ,the need to protect the delicate balance of our shared habitat with animals and the environment, zoonotic diseases and the necessity for enhancing animal welfare, the contribution of animals in meeting the  sustainable development goals, food safety and food security, climate change, policy issues and emerging trends in the sector that require quick attention.

This annual conference has congregated various stakeholders among them academia, students, government officials, civil society, United Nations staffers, practitioners in veterinary and animal health, animal welfare enthusiasts and researchers.

The conference is based on the philosophy that animals are sentient beings and should not suffer at the hands of people, as oftentimes happens, and they should enjoy the Five Freedoms at all times. Its mission is therefore to annually congregate animal welfare stakeholders to deliberate on critical issues that affect animals, the environment and people, and seek solutions to prevailing challenges as appropriate.

Many pertinent matters have emerged over the last conferences notably:

  • • That Animal Welfare is a crucial matter that calls for mainstreaming in development across Africa.
  • • The need for moving a resolution on animal welfare at the United Nations Environment Assembly so as to elevate animal welfare issues to the global arena.
  • • There is need to pay attention to animal law and animal welfare and policies and legislation across the continent.
  • • The importance of involving youth in environmental and animal welfare matters in the continent cannot be underestimated and requires proactive action.
  • • The need to pursue partnerships with humanitarian agencies to improve animal welfare and especially animals in disaster situations.
  • • The need to promote sustainable production and consumption with sensitivity to animal welfare and the environment.

The conference also seeks to complement the work of African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) which spearheaded efforts to develop the Animal Welfare Strategy for Africa (AWSA) as a way of consolidating synergy towards better animal welfare in Africa. In this regard, governments and civil societies in Africa are currently at various stages of domesticating the implementation of Animal Welfare Strategy for Africa (AWSA), coordinated through the Africa Platform for Animal Welfare (APAW).

The 6th Africa Animal Welfare Conference-Action 2022

The 6th Africa Animal Welfare Conference is planned to be held in TraveLodge Hotel, Gaborone, Botswana, from 31st October -2nd November, 2022 (Arrival on 30th October and Departure on 3rd November). The conference will be a hybrid event comprising in- person attendance and live-streaming for on-line participants. Delegates attending in-person will be expected to arrive in Botswana on 30th October and depart of 3rd November 2022.

The proceedings will involve presentations on selected topics, speeches, panel discussions and question and answer sessions.

The theme of this conference is: Animals, People and the Environment in a rapidly changing 21st Century.

This theme is informed by the reality that the 21st Century is witnessing rapid and sometimes phenomenal changes globally. In Africa, like in other parts of the world, immense change is being witnessed in the areas of technological advancement, infrastructure development , population increase , changing land use, habitat loss ,increased industrialization, changing patterns in food production and consumption, pollution , climate change and variation ,new health concerns and emergence of pandemics such as Covid-19.

These changes affect people, animals and the environment due to the interlink of the three, and hence there is a call to look at modest and effective means of attaining the delicate balance of nature that is fundamental for optimum health of the planet.

This conference will try to awaken a consciousness and incentivize the continental community to invest in interventions that will ameliorate the negative impacts where the balance is already altered, and take deliberate steps towards preventing further detrimental actions that could grossly affect this delicate relationship.

It is generally recognized that Africa is currently experiencing massive growth in terms of infrastructural investments ,and the continent is on the verge of experiencing its own industrial revolution .This economic reawakening comes with the consequent challenges of pressure on land, and animals are often made to give way for industrial projects as their habitats are disrupted or altered .With these projects, also come the effects on the environment where  trees and vegetation are cleared and even wetlands disrupted in the desire to achieve development. The onus is therefore on us, the people, to ensure that we can attain development with minimum harm to animals and the environment, and hence purpose to achieve the ideal balance of nature.

Furthermore, changes in food production systems and consumption patterns have cascaded into ecological paradigm shifts that call for humanity to re-evaluate and refocus our actions to ensure sustainable life on the planet. For instance, the commercialization of agriculture and the desire for mass food production to feed the growing population in the continent is resulting in the inclination towards adopting factory farming systems, which have 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 hazards to human, animal and environmental health. Additionally, mechanization of food systems is accelerating, leaving in its wake environmental and health challenges in terms of pollution from fossil fuels and degradation of the soil structure.

This theme will therefore guide the conference deliberations and help to tease out the necessary actions that must be taken to accommodate enhanced growth without compromising the integrity of the environment, and maintaining good welfare of animals.

This 6th Conference will seek to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To illustrate progress towards mainstreaming Animal Welfare in the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA )and the gains realized through the Africa Platform for Animal Welfare (APAW and implementation of the Animal welfare strategy Africa.
  2. To develop a critical mass of sensitized animal welfare stakeholders in Africa to champion and support the emerging animal welfare, sustainable development and environment agenda in the continent.
  3. To discuss the implications of the interaction of animal welfare, people and the environment on Africa’s development.
  4. To entrench among stakeholders and communities in Africa their role in improving animal welfare and supporting environmental conservation in Africa.
  5. Advancing knowledge sharing, linkages and networking among stakeholders in animal welfare, environment and related sectors in Africa.

  1. Identification of key challenges occasioned by the rapid changes and their impact on animals, people and the environment, and possible mitigation measures.
  2. Review and commit to necessary action plans that need to be taken towards enhancing animal welfare practices in the continent.
  3. Enhanced support and implementation of animal welfare and environmental policies from government institutions and other key stakeholders in Africa.
  4. Conference report, conference resolutions, policy brief (or conference journal).

The Conference is jointly organized and co-hosted by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), African Union InterAfrican Union for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and Africa Network for Animal Welfare. They are supported by a Conference Organising Committee and work in partnership with the government of the hosting country.

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), African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and the Government of the Country on Which the Conference is held, 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.