Preserving Africa's Donkeys: Key Outcomes from the 5th Specialized Technical Committee

Tue, 02-07-2024 15:00:00


The 5th Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water, and Environment that met from 14-17 November 2023 urged African Union Member States to enhance their commitment to protecting all animals and ensuring that the use of natural resources is ecologically sustainable and humane. The Global Plan of Action (GPA) for Animal Genetic Resources emphasizes the importance of animal genetic resources and the need for national conservation policies and programs.

Donkeys in Africa face significant welfare and existence threats due to the rising demand for their skins, believed to have medicinal properties. Donkey farming to meet this demand is unsustainable due to their low fertility, long reproduction cycles, low welfare awareness, poor practices of care and management, and illegal utilization such as within country illegal slaughter and cross-border smuggling. The STC acknowledges these issues and stresses the need for immediate action to protect the donkey population.

The STC took note of the 2022 Pan-African Conference on Donkey Exploitation in Africa and recognized the socio-economic contribution of donkeys in the continent, and the concerns about their welfare and unsustainable use. There is a clear need for better data to inform policies and programs, and for the inclusion of donkeys in national animal resource development plans. The STC highlights the rapid decline in donkey populations and urges research on the potential for the establishment of breeding programs to address these challenges.

The STC requested the AU Commission to lead an African common position and moratorium on the exploitation of the donkey through slaughter for its skin. This initiative aims to preserve the species, safeguard its contribution to food and nutrition security, to safeguard livelihoods, and to ensure a sustainable economic growth in Africa. Additionally, the STC calls for the development of a Pan-African Strategy for the Donkey, including an action plan for the increment of its production and productivity.

Furthermore, the AU Commission, in collaboration with Regional Economic Communities, Member States, the World Organisation for Animal Health, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and other stakeholders, is urged to mobilize resources for a coordinated program to enhance the conservation and management of donkey and other working equids in Africa.

This comprehensive approach is essential to address the multifaceted challenges faced by the donkey and the donkey-dependent communities and to ensure the sustainable future of the species.

Read Excerpt on “Donkey Species Preservation in Africa: DONKEY IN AFRICA NOW AND IN THE FUTURE" from the Report of the Fifth Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water, and Environment