"All Must Spread Lessons That Resonate With Different Animal Welfare Situations In Africa" - MESTI
The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr. Kwaku Afriyie has charged participants at the 5th Africa Animal Welfare Conference to seek, share and spread lessons under the conference theme that befit and resonate well with different animal welfare situations in Africa.
According to Dr. Afriyie, most government stakeholders do not only look out for exemplary experiences and case studies to enlighten themselves and but also create meaningful networks and linkages for improving animal welfare in various policies.
Speaking at the 5th Africa Animal Welfare Conference at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC), he said “It is also a great honour for Africa to share this special conference with the rest of the world during the current COVID-19 pandemic caused by a zoonotic pathogen”
“I find the theme for this year’s conference: “One Health, One Welfare - For a Better and Greener Tomorrow” to be both appropriate and interesting, given that Animal welfare has become an integral and important part of the development of public policies for animal resource management across the world”
He reminded the gathering that the conference is timely as it coincides with the World Leaders summit taking place in Glasgow on climate change where discussions are ongoing on how to combat climate change and save the planet.
Dr. Afriyie noted that in Africa, animal resources are essential for maintaining the ecological integrity of terrestrial and aquatic environments as well as increasing national economic growth and improvement of livelihoods.
He added that scientific studies from around the world indicate that animal welfare simultaneously enhances animal and public health, while providing social and environmental safeguards.
“It is now becoming apparent that the genesis of zoonotic pandemics are inextricably linked to poor animal welfare. Hence, the 5th edition of the Africa Animal Welfare Conference seeks to discern animal welfare in terms of various sustainable development aspects in the context of the ‘One Health’ paradigm, while addressing a myriad of current and future challenges facing environmental protection and sustainable development in Africa” he noted.
“This meeting is an Afrocentric convergence of minds that enables participants to explore the meaning, the significance and adaptability of the theme to different social, economic and environmental contexts in Africa. A quick glimpse of the conference programme shows that academia, practitioners, researchers, politicians, social workers and animal health experts will make presentations addressing the interlinkage between animal welfare and various contexts such as food security, economic productivity, innovations, social justice, technology, wildlife preservation, biodiversity conservation and climate change” he stated.
Speaking from a government perspective, Dr. Afriyie mentioned that the conference will present a good opportunity for innovative policy engagement jointly by public, private, governmental, non-governmental, communities and other stakeholders in animal resource management.
He was of the view that as a country, Ghana is developing its first National Biodiversity Policy; aimed at promoting the sustainable utilisation and conservation of biodiversity resources to promote the economic development of our communities and the nation.
He said “This conference therefore is a timely trigger and a point for policy reflection, review, performance assessment and evaluation at development interfaces concerning animals, people and the environment”
“As you may be aware, Ghana, in collaboration with Burkina-Faso, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Senegal and South Sudan, are presenting the first-ever animal welfare resolution for adoption, hopefully, at the next United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA 5.2) in February 2022. The resolution articulates the nexus between animal welfare and sustainable development in as far as environmental protection and public health are concerned. The resolution seeks to mainstream animal welfare into the global sustainable development agenda in a wholistic manner” he stressed.
Dr. Afriyie emphasizes the need to promote animal-welfare driven innovations in pursuit of sustainable development around the world while addressing challenges emanating from climate change, high human population growth rates, environmental degradation, desertification and global pandemics.
“I wish to congratulate the inter-agency collaboration effort to organise this year’s conference. May I thank the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Africa Union International Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), and Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) for jointly planning and co-hosting the conference with support from various partners from around the world. I also wish to thank my government counterparts for finding time to attend and participate in the conference”
Other representatives present at the opening ceremony of the conference assured the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation of their support.
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Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith and Mandy Adwoa Morata Woods