Date: September 25th, 2023
Location: Kigali, Rwanda
The city of Kigali, Rwanda, takes center stage as the venue for the 7th Africa Animal Welfare Conference. This event serves as a dynamic catalyst, propelling the cause of animal welfare forward across the expansive and multifaceted African continent. This year's conference, guided by the theme "Navigating the Delicate Balance of Animal Welfare, Climate Change, and Development: Collaborative Actions for a Healthy and Sustainable Environment," unfolds from September 25th to 27th, 2023. The conference assembles a distinguished and diverse assembly of participants, all driven by a shared vision: to enhance the well-being of animals and champion sustainable development.
Inaugural Welcome Remarks
The conference commenced with a warm welcome from its co-hosting partners, Professor James Nkansah Obrempong, Board Chair of the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW), Ulf Bjornholm, Chief, Civil Society Unit, United Nations Environment Programme; and Dr. Huyam Ahmed Mohammed Elamin Salih, Director of the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR).
Goodwill messages were given by Marianne Steele, CEO, The Donkey Sanctuary; Wolf Gordon Clifton, Executive Director, Animal People; Emmanuel Ngumbi, African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW)-Giraffe Centre; Dr Samuel Wakhusama, Regional Representative for Eastern; and Horn of Africa, World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH). Their presence set the tone for a collaborative and impactful gathering, uniting leaders, experts, policymakers, and stakeholders dedicated to enhancing animal welfare across Africa.
Dr. Olivier Kamana, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Republic of Rwanda, delivered an enlightening keynote address, officially inaugurating the conference and setting the stage for the days ahead. Dr. Kamana extended his best wishes for fruitful discussions and tangible recommendations grounded in scientific principles. His address served as a clarion call, galvanizing conference attendees to work collaboratively toward the sustainable development of the animal resources sector in Africa, ensuring a brighter and more compassionate future for all animals on the continent.
AU-IBAR Director's Vision
At the heart of the conference was the enlightening address delivered by the Director of AU-IBAR, in which she unveiled a compelling vision for advancing animal welfare and sustainable development in Africa. Key facets of her address included:
A Shared Commitment
The Director emphasized the significance of the conference as an exceptional opportunity to unite thought leaders and experts, showcasing a shared commitment to improving the welfare of animals in Africa.
AU-IBAR's Central Role
Drawing attention to AU-IBAR's pivotal role, the Director highlighted the organization's mandate, which involves coordinating a collaborative approach among stakeholders, international communities, and regional economic bodies. This mandate aims to support African Union Member States in developing the animal resources sector sustainably, particularly in addressing food and nutrition security challenges.
Dedication to Animal Welfare
The Director underlined AU-IBAR's unwavering commitment to animal welfare, showcasing the development of the Animal Welfare Strategy for Africa as a testament to this dedication. This comprehensive framework is designed to promote and safeguard animal welfare standards across the African continent.
Recognizing the intricate interplay between animal welfare, the environment, and sustainable development, the Director pointed to AU-IBAR's active role in advancing UNEA Resolution 5/1. This resolution acknowledges and addresses the complex connections between these three pillars, underlining AU-IBAR's commitment to their integrated sustainability.
Challenges and Urgency
Acknowledging the challenges faced by the Coordination Committee of the African Platform of Animal Welfare within AU-IBAR (CCAPAW), the Director, AU-IBAR addressed global crises such as COVID-19, Climate Change, and Geopolitical instabilities. These crises have hindered access to critical resources like feed, fodder, and essential services, collectively posing significant threats to Animal Welfare. This underscores the urgency for implementing the Africa-wide Strategy for Animal Welfare (AWSA).
Expanding the Mandate
In a thought-provoking proposition, the Director encouraged animal welfare organisations to broaden their mandate to include support for animal health. she argued that integrating animal health into the animal welfare agenda could provide a more holistic approach to enhancing the overall well-being of animals.
A Call to Action
The Director, AU-IBAR’s remarks at the 7th Africa Animal Welfare Conference illuminated the significance of this gathering and underscored the pivotal role that AU-IBAR plays in advancing animal welfare and sustainable development in Africa. His vision and commitment align seamlessly with the broader mission of the conference, uniting stakeholders in a shared goal of promoting the well-being of animals and fostering a brighter future for all living creatures on the continent.
Diverse and Informative Sessions
The conference features a diverse range of presentations and sessions (See full programme: https://aawconference.org/index.php/programme) aimed at enhancing the understanding and practice of animal welfare. Notable AU-IBAR’s participation will involve staff playing an integral role throughout the conference, with several presentations during Session 9 that will focus on "AU-IBAR: Coordination, Harmonization, and Scaling of Africa’s Interventions in the Delicate Balance of Animal Welfare, Climate Change, and Development." These presentations will delve into critical topics, including:
• Re-energizing the APAW: Building Momentum towards the Implementation of AWSA, presented by Dr. Hiver Boussini.
• The RAFFS Project: AU-IBAR’s Response to the Triple Crises of Climate Change, COVID-19, and Conflict in Europe, presented by Dr. Sarah Ashanut Ossiya.
• The African Union OHDAA Project: Enhancing Data Management for Sustainable Evidence-based Animal, Human, and Environmental Health Interventions, presented by Dr. Mary-Mbole Kariuki.
• Aquatic Resources: An Opportunity for Animal Nutrition Welfare in Africa under Climate Change – Perspectives from AU-IBAR, presented by Dr. Nelly Isyagi.
• Navigating the Opportunities in the Nexus between Animal Welfare and Sustainable Animal Production in Africa, presented by Dr. Mwenda Mbaka.
Additionally, Dr. Mwenda Mbaka, an Animal Welfare Expert from AU-IBAR, is expected to moderate Session 6 on "Emerging Trends in Education and Research," which will provide valuable insights into the evolving landscape of animal welfare research and education.
The 7th Africa Animal Welfare Conference not only sheds light on the critical role that organizations like AU-IBAR play in advancing animal welfare but also demonstrates the unwavering commitment of stakeholders across Africa to the welfare of animals and the promotion of sustainable development. The conference's discussions and presentations are expected to provide a roadmap for a more compassionate and sustainable future for animals on the African continent, leaving attendees inspired and energized to take meaningful action. The vision presented by the stakeholders in the opening remarks resonates as a beacon of hope for the animals and people of Africa, ensuring a harmonious future where both thrive in balance with the environment.
Join AU-IBAR online during session 9 taking place on Day 3: Wednesday 27 September, 2023:
Click here to access the conference programme. (Or copy and paste this link onto your web browser https://www.aawconference.org/2023/7th_AAWC_Action_2023_Programme.pdf).