Sustainable Development Goal 13
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
Policy coherence must be strengthened by ensuring compliance with obligations under international animal welfare and conservation policy streams such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) animal welfare standards and multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) and the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Partnership between governments, intergovernmental organizations, and competent authorities with the Animal Issues Thematic Cluster and its individual member organizations can facilitate inclusion of animal welfare and conservation into development policies, strategies and plans and, by leveraging the cross-cutting nature of these issues, accelerate implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda.
The SDGs are human-centric and thus overlook the central importance of nature and animals to our world and our humanity. However, excluding the care, protection and conservation of animals as an inter-linked and cross-cutting issue negatively contributes to the effective and full implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda.
Animals are integral to the livelihoods and well-being of communities all around the world. With the world population increasing by 83 million people annually, we face many challenges in terms of humanity’s reliance on and interdependence with animals. These include, but are not limited to, a greater demand for food, increased use of land and water and multiplying impacts of livestock on the environment. One of the biggest challenges we face is the limited awareness of the importance and value of animals in society and how crucial animal welfare and conservation are to the effective implementation of the SDGs.
Target 17.14 aims to “Enhance policy coherence for sustainable development.” Animal welfare standards and guidelines are officially promulgated through international policy streams, such as the OIE animal welfare standards, as well as through national legislation and private standards. Improving animal welfare contributes significantly to improved environmental and human wellbeing outcomes. There are currently 182 countries that have agreed to implement the OIE animal welfare standards. Further, development policies of Parties to the CBD, CMS and CITES must be consistent and mutually reinforcing of existing obligations under these conventions. If care is not taken to ensure that development policies and strategies are coherent with agreed animal welfare standards and MEAs, countries will not reap the benefits to sustainable development that are concomitant with improved animal welfare and conservation practices. In order for the three dimensions of sustainable development to be achieved (economic, social and environmental), there needs to be coherence between animal welfare and conservation policies on international and national levels, as well as effective implementation and enforcement of these policies.
Target 17.16 aims to “Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries.” Animal welfare and conservation NGOs possess a wealth of knowledge, expertise, best practice and other resources that are currently underutilized in sustainable development. These NGOs can partner with governments and competent authorities to facilitate the incorporation of animal welfare and conservation into development policies and strategies, in order to fully harness the benefits and synergies of these issues for sustainable development.
To achieve policy coherence, it is important to draw from the OIE animal welfare standards and include them in national development plans and policies, including through training and capacity building. Development policy and strategy must also take into account obligations under various MEAs like CBD, CMS and CITES. It is also crucial to incorporate these standards and obligations when evaluating policy coherence to ensure that policies developed are mutually reinforcing.
Through partnerships with NGOs involved in the care, protection and conservation of animals, governments and competent authorities can gain a better understanding of the obstacles to SDG implementation and how to overcome them, and accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda, by incorporating the care, protection and conservation of animals into development strategies and plans.
The Animal Issues Thematic Cluster (AITC) is a coalition of NGOs bringing expertise from around the world on a wide range of issues, from improving animal welfare in agricultural development to biodiversity conservation. These NGOs are ready and willing to work with governments and other stakeholders to ensure that animal welfare and conservation are effectively included and policy and planning, in order to harness the full benefits of these cross-cutting issues to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda.
Governments must ensure the training of civil society on the SDGs and their effective implementation in order to integrate all stakeholders in societal change.
Governments must ensure that their development policies and plans take animal welfare and conservation into account and that they are consistent with the OIE animal welfare standards, as well as obligations under CMS, CBD, CITES and other MEAs.
Governments must make access to information, such as standards of care for animals, more readily available through technological means and ensure that data can be easily monitored and updated.
National and regional media platforms can be leveraged to disseminate information and improve awareness of animal welfare and conservation issues and developments.
Partnerships between governments, intergovernmental institutions, research and academic institutions, and civil society are critical to gaining the comprehensive perspectives, expertise and resources necessary to fully implement the 2030 Agenda, as well as ensure effective monitoring, review, and accountability.
The AITC brings together knowledge, expertise and solutions on animal welfare and conservation to the Sustainable Development Agenda, and its members operate in countries all around the world. This expertise can be harnessed through partnerships between AITC members and private and government sectors.