September 14-15, 2023
In a resounding call to protect and preserve Africa's donkeys, the African Union's Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) has joined forces with The Brooke, an esteemed organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of working equines. From September 14 to 15, 2023, AU-IBAR and The Brooke will convene with the African Diplomatic Group in Naivasha, Kenya, marking a pivotal moment in the ongoing campaign to safeguard donkey welfare across the continent. This workshop underscores the significance of implementing the current overarching Animal Welfare Strategy, focusing on addressing the formidable challenges faced by these indispensable creatures.
The Dar es Salaam Declaration: A Visionary Proposal
At the heart of this workshop lies the Dar es Salaam Declaration, a visionary proposal that advocates for a 15-year moratorium on the slaughter of donkeys for their skins within Africa. This initiative is a response to the alarming decline of donkey populations across the continent, driven primarily by the relentless international demand for their skin. The repercussions of this trade ripple far beyond the donkeys themselves, posing imminent threats to community livelihoods, agricultural stability, and the delicate web of biodiversity in Africa.
Expected Outcomes: Unifying for Donkey Welfare
The workshop aspires to achieve several pivotal outcomes:
1. Increased Awareness: Esteemed members of the African Diplomatic Group will embark on a journey towards a profound understanding of the pivotal role played by donkeys in Africa.
2. Support for the Dar es Salaam Declaration: The workshop's primary objective is to secure the unwavering commitment and support of the African Diplomatic Group for the Dar es Salaam Declaration, unifying their voices in defence of Africa's donkeys.
3. Enhanced Collaboration: Assembled stakeholders, including government representatives, international organizations, and advocacy groups, will foster strengthened collaboration and coordination to effectively address the pressing issue of the donkey skin trade.
4. Roadmap for Engagement: Participants will engage in collaborative endeavours to craft a well-defined strategy and roadmap for engaging African Union Member States in the implementation of the Dar es Salaam Declaration, creating a roadmap to meaningful change.
The Agenda: A Blueprint for Action
The agenda for the workshop, under the theme "Securing Support for the Dar es Salaam Declaration on Donkey Slaughter in Africa," is designed to realize critical objectives. Commencing with a warm welcome and introductory remarks, the workshop will provide an insightful overview of its objectives while introducing the Dar es Salaam Declaration, spotlighting key findings and recommendations.
On day one, the agenda unfurls with in-depth explorations of the indispensable role of donkeys in agriculture, their empowering impact on women and youth, and their unique contribution to climate change resilience—an increasingly vital topic on our continent. Additionally, sessions are dedicated to preparing for the 5th Specialized Technical Committee (STC) Meeting, strategizing for the post-STC period, and devising innovative funding and resource mobilization strategies to fortify this noble cause.
A Journey to the Heart of the Issue
The second day promises riveting testimonials from donkey-dependent communities and illuminating international case studies. A field trip to the Donkey Users’ Association will provide a firsthand understanding of the lives and challenges faced by those directly affected by the donkey trade.
Interactive discussions, feedback collection, and the formulation of a roadmap for engaging member states will bring the workshop to a close. As the curtains fall, closing remarks from Ambassador Bayene Russom and Dr. Hiver Boussini will set the compass for the future—a future where Africa's donkeys thrive, communities flourish, and biodiversity prospers. All the while, we remain steadfast in our commitment to the principles of animal welfare, a core value championed by AU-IBAR. Together, we embark on this transformative journey, preserving Africa's donkeys for a sustainable future that respects the rights and well-being of these remarkable animals that have been steadfast partners throughout history.
In attendance are distinguished figures, including Dr. Raphael Kinoti, the Regional Director of Brooke East Africa, Dr. Huyam Salih, the Director of AU-IBAR, and His Excellency Ambassador Bayene Russom, the Dean of the African Diplomatic Group. They will be joined by government representatives, international organizations, advocacy groups, diplomats, and representatives from 18 countries, including Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Burundi, Congo DRC, Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, Mozambique, Malawi, Ethiopia, Kenya Mission to UNON, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. Together, this diverse and esteemed assembly will champion the cause initiated by the Dar es Salaam Declaration, a resounding call to protect and preserve Africa's donkeys for generations to come.
As the workshop unfolds, it is clear that a brighter future for Africa's donkeys is within reach, and together, we stand as champions for their welfare and well-being.