8 July 2022

The welfare of working equids should be prioritised in the Agenda 2030

Global External Affairs Advisor Chiara Soletti discusses Brooke's aims for this year's High Level Political Forum (HLPF).

Working equids make a crucial contribution to communities and economies around the world. Unfortunately, they are often overlooked and excluded from plans, negatively impacting their welfare and that of the people who depend on them. 

This week, Brooke is at the ECOSOC High Level Political Forum (HLPF), the main UN platform dedicated to sustainable development and the monitoring of the Agenda 2030. Throughout the week, Brooke representatives will work to advance the status of working equids and engage with national stakeholders to highlight animal welfare and One Health principles

Working equids represent an important social protection mechanism, boosting community resilience. In many countries, they contribute to sustainable agricultural development (SDG2 Zero Hunger) and they enable communities to access water, (SDG 6 Clean Water and sanitation)

Their role in sustainable farming in remote areas is also helps to ensure community resilience against climate change impacts like land degradation (SDG15 Life on Land), and disasters and climate shocks (SDG13 Climate Action)

Millions of people rely on working equids for their livelihoods and their contribution to national GDP must not be overlooked (SDG1 No Poverty). Women in particular benefit from owning an equine, often representing a path to economic and social independence (SDG5 Gender Equality)

With the recently adopted UNEA resolution  on Animal Welfare, Environment, Sustainable Development Nexusand the engagement work of the Action for Animal Health Coalition with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the development of the upcoming pandemic treaty, the interlinkages between the health of humans, animals, ecosystems, and sustainable development are now clearer than ever. Strong well-resourced animal health systems are pivotal to the realisation of several SDGs, including SDG 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing).  

As Brooke engages with stakeholders at this year’s HLPF, we call for: 

  1. Consideration of draught power within livelihoods, sustainable development, agricultural and climate programming   

  1. Appropriate investment to ensure access to suitable services for animal owners, enabling livestock keepers to make better use of their livestock and improve welfare   

  1. Investment in animal health systems more broadly - including upskilling the animal health workforce, securing access to animal medicines and vaccines, and improving surveillance – for sustainable development and to operationalise One Health  

  1. Technical capacity building to implement relevant global policies such as the World Organisation for Animal Health’s (WOAH) Standards for the Welfare of Working Equids at national level   

  1. Visibility in economic and market analysis of the contribution of draught power and in livelihoods assessments, to highlight the overlooked role of working animals in these systems   

  1. Inclusion of working livestock in disaster risk reduction and emergency response planning, including in the roll out of Livestock Emergency Guidelines  

  1. Banning damaging trades that impact livelihoods and animal welfare such as the donkey skin trade, cracking down on associated illegal activity that fuels the trade and pooling evidence and research to strengthen regional positions   

  1. Inclusion and enhanced protection of working livestock within livestock policy definitions, censuses and databases with disaggregated data including working animals (more details in the brief “Working Equids in Numbers: Why Data Matters for Policy”).