The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), DrKwakuAfriyie,has urged Ghanaians to ensure the welfare of animal species across the country.
This, he said, would preserve the environmental integrity of global and marine environments, enhance national economic growth and improve livelihoods.
DrAfriyienoted that it was also to augment animal and public health, while providing social and environmental protections.
He said this at the 5th Africa Animal Welfare Conference held under the theme ‘One Health, One Welfare-For a Better and Greener Tomorrow,’ in Accra yesterday.
“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 said.
“Scientific studies from around the world indicate that animal welfare simultaneously enhances animal and public health, while providing social and environmental safeguards,” he added.
DrAfriyiestated that the depletion of animal species worldwide was the fundamental cause for illnesses that spread between animals and people (zoonotic diseases).
“It is now becoming apparent that the genesis of zoonotic pandemics are inextricably linked to poor animal welfare,” he stated.
For this reason, the Minister indicated that the conference was pivotal as animal welfare was central to the development of public policies for animal resource management across the world.
DrAfriyie stressed that the conference was timely as it concurred with the World Leaders summit taking place in Glasgow on climate change, and said that the conference was aimed at enhancing sensitisation, commitments and implementation by government and stakeholders while ensuring stronger support for animal welfare across Africa.
“This conferenceis a timely trigger and a point for policy reflection, review, performance assessment and evaluation at development interfaces concerning animals, people and the environment,” he stated.
“The conference presents a good opportunity for innovative policy engagement jointly by public, private, governmental, non-governmental, communities and other stakeholders in animal resource management,” he added.
Also, the Minister underscored that the country was developing its National Biodiversity Policy and together with five other African countries would present the first-ever animal welfare resolution for adoption next year.
“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,” DrAfriyie said.
“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 in February 2022,” DrAfriyie added.
Furthermore, he said that the resolve would lay forth and deepen the link between the wellbeing of animals and sustainability.
“The resolution articulates the nexus between animal welfare and sustainable development as far as environmental protection and public health are concerned,” the Minister said.
“The resolution seeks to mainstream animal welfare into the global sustainable development agenda in a holistic manner,” the Minister added.
The conference was also aimed at increasing high-level engagement that would end in the adoption of animal welfare as a thematic area of the United Nations, and build lasting and satisfactory collaborations, partnerships and other engagements.
BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR & CECILIA LAGBA