Delegates attending the 7th Africa Animal Welfare Conference – Action 2023 in the Rwandan capital of Kigali on Monday called for concerted efforts to improve animal welfare in Africa to enhance development and environmental sustainability.
They were speaking at the formal opening ceremony of the event which attracted government officials, animal welfare experts, environmentalists, members of civil society, and the private sector, among others.
“There is a need to work with governments and all stakeholders in improving animal welfare in Africa to enhance development and environmental sustainability. We need to safeguard our biodiversity,” said James Nkansah-Obrempong, chairman of the board of the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW).
He emphasized the necessity of preserving a fragile balance in response to shifting climate patterns impacting both humans and animals. “Prioritizing animal welfare is the optimal approach to alleviate animal suffering. Animals are sentient beings and should not suffer at the hands of people.”
Addressing the conference virtually, Huyam Ahmed Mohammed Elamin Salih, director of the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), emphasized the need to develop strong collaborative efforts to improve animal welfare while protecting the environment.
She urged stakeholders and communities in Africa to firmly establish their involvement in enhancing animal well-being and backing environmental conservation efforts on the continent.
Olivier Kamana, permanent secretary at the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, said that the creation of linkages and networking among stakeholders in animal welfare, the environment, development, and related sectors in Africa will play a key role in improving animal welfare while protecting Africa’s biodiversity. “It is our responsibility to ensure that animal welfare is respected.”
The conference that runs through Wednesday is under the theme: “Navigating the delicate balance of animal welfare, climate change, and development: concerted actions towards a healthy and sustainable environment.”
The event, jointly organized by the United Nations Environment Programme, the AU-IBAR, and the ANAW, aims to exchange knowledge and best practices for enhancing animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and human development. It will also review and commit to necessary action plans that need to be taken towards enhancing animal welfare in Africa.