Addis Ababa, 24th July 2017-A 2-day meeting was convened by the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture through its specialized technical office, AU-IBAR to launch the Africa Platform for Animal Welfare (APAW) and the endorsement of the Animal Welfare Strategy for Africa (AWSA) at the African Union Commission (AUC) Headquarters from 24th-25th July 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Seventy participants comprising Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) and representatives from Member States (MSs) namely Zimbabwe, Tunisia, DR Congo, Gambia, Senegal, Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Chad, Kenya, Tanzania, Togo, Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan, Madagascar, Nigeria and Burkina Faso; Regional Economic Communities (RECs), IGAD, COMESA, ECCAS and ECOWAS; international organizations FAO and OIE, ILRI, Veterinary Education Establishments, University of Nairobi, Kenya and Dakar School of Veterinary Medicine, Senegal ; animal welfare organizations: Brooke, World Horse Welfare, Donkey Sanctuary, World Animal Protection, Africa Network for Animal Welfare, Pan African Animal Welfare Alliance (PAWA), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW); Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture technical offices of AU-IBAR, AU-PANVAC and AU-PATTEC and a team of consultants attended the meeting.
The overall objective of the meeting was to launch the African Platform for Animal Welfare (APAW) and endorse the Animal Welfare Strategy for Africa (AWSA).
The specific objectives were:
- To adopt the Terms of Reference (TORs) and launch the APAW.
- To endorse the AWSA and 5-year Action Plan.
- To develop an annual work plan for APAW.
- To provide recommendations to countries and stakeholders on priority intervention areas with emphasis on the African context.
Welcome remarks were made by Prof. Ahmed Elsawalhy, Director of AU-IBAR, Ms. Penny Ward of World Horse Welfare, Mr. Tennyson Williams Director of World Animal Protection, Dr. Boija Duguma, Representative of Donkey Sanctuary, Ms Petra Ingram, CEO of the Brooke International; Dr. Berhanu Bedane, FAO Regional Office for Africa, Dr. Patrick Bastiaensen, Representative of OIE.
The meeting was officially opened by Dr. Godfrey Bahiigwa, Director of the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) on behalf of the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture (REA). The Director of DREA said "My department, with a proven track record and long experience in coordination and leadership in animal resource development, will work in close collaboration with key stakeholders to spearhead the implementation of the Animal Welfare Strategy for Africa (AWSA) in line with the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) and the Animal Welfare standards of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), while taking the African context into account. The Africa Platform for Animal Welfare (APAW) with the secretariat at AU-IBAR will support coordination and partnership and guide the process of implementing the Strategy and action plan, in partnerships with specialized organizations and coordinate the formulation of common African positions on animal welfare during the OIE standard setting processes." Before officially launching APAW he emphasized that "to begin the implementation of the strategy in earnest I will work tirelessly with relevant AUC organs to have the Strategy endorsed by the Sectoral Technical Committee and subsequently by the Head of States and governments ".
About Animal Welfare
Animal welfare is a global common good which forms an integral part of responsible development of the animal resources. In recent years, animal welfare has become an issue of increasing concern globally and indeed in a number of countries, including in Africa. At the same time, compliance with animal welfare standards is more and more often included in livestock trade agreements. Indeed, animals contribute to human wellbeing in all their various uses. Disregard for animal welfare often leads to poor animal health due to increased susceptibility of animal populations to diseases and injury, and poor quality or contaminated animal-based food products, with resulting economic losses. Concern for animal welfare is therefore intrinsically a concern for human wellbeing and animal productivity and entails an inclusive approach within the livestock sector.
AU-IBAR is therefore taking the lead in "Integrating the welfare interests of human and animals in Africa".