Participants at a recent Pan-African Donkey Conference unanimously agreed that the future of the African donkey depends on immediate action. The Pan-African Donkey Conference was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on December 1-2, 2022, under the theme: “Donkeys in Africa: Now and in the Future”. The African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) organised it alongside the Government of Tanzania, ECOWAS, EAC, SADC, and animal welfare groups and institutions. Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe ministers or their representatives and delegates attended physically. A total of 134 delegates attended physically, with another 70 participating online.
Participants included the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), as well as FAO, WOAH, the Parliaments of Nigeria and Sudan, and their Chief Veterinary Officers. Donkey and equestrian specialists from outside Africa were also present, along with donkey owners/users and their recorded voices. Animal welfare organisations including The Donkey Sanctuary, World Horse Welfare, Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA), Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW), and World Animal Protection (WAP) were also present (TALIRI). Academics, researchers, the head of the Anglican Church of Kenya, the head of the Muslim community in Dar es Salaam, and others attended. This continental gathering also included academics, journalists, and artists.
The conference consisted of two days of interactive presentations, video pieces, panel discussions, and plenary sessions. The conference provided government representatives and RECs from African Union member states, and other stakeholders a platform to discuss donkeys on the continent. A better understanding of donkey exploitation in Africa helped to get insights on what could help shape policy. This consensus led to commitments to safeguard the donkey, which is threatened by overexploitation in the skin trade, and it would open way for the establishment of a policy position and practise to improve donkeys' role in sustainable development.
• Read Communique for more information
• Access Conference website for more information