By The COAST Correspondent
World Animal Protection (WAP) and partners have called on African governments and the Africa Climate Summit 2023 to acknowledge the climate and environmental impact of unsustainable livestock production systems and push for adoption of a transition to humane, sustainable, and regenerative livestock production systems.
At a pre-climate week media briefing held today, the animal welfare advocates noted that factory farming is almost always overlooked as the climate culprit within the agriculture sector.
Yet, it is factory farming that rips down forests to plant crops for animal feed – releasing carbon into the atmosphere. And it is factory farming that devastates wildlife habitats, displaces local communities and profits from the cruel treatment of billions of farmed animals each year.
Tennyson Williams, director for Africa at WAP said: “There is a nexus between animal agriculture and climate change, and this discussion should not be overlooked during climate discussions.”
Next week, the whole of Africa will be convening in Nairobi to seek solutions to the climate crisis and WAP asks participants to endorse sustainable livestock farming practices, embrace African traditional food systems, and prioritize local communities’ needs as part of sustainable practices that can guarantee a safer future.
Addressing the media briefing, Dr Huyian Ahmend Salih, the director for Africa Union – IBAR noted that large-scale deforestation, habitat degradation and fragmentation, agriculture intensification, dilapidating livestock production and trade in animal species and plants are drivers of biodiversity loss and emergence of new diseases.
She called for strong interlinkage between animal welfare, environment and socio-economic development and emphasize the need to place Animal Welfare at the centre stage of the Global Environment Agenda and Sustainable Development.
While receiving the communique, Ismael Faheny, advisor for water and environmental management at the office of the President commended WAP and partners for promoting sustainable livestock production systems to mitigate against climate change.
“It has been proven beyond doubt that sustainable and regenerative agriculture measures, designed to put farmers at the centre can improve livestock yields and turn farmland and pastures into carbon sinks, reverse forest loss, optimize the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers, and rethink global and local supply chains to be more sustainable. Kenya and Africa are the best partners for this paradigm shift,” he said.
Kenya shall be co-hosting the inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS) with the Africa Union Commission in Nairobi from 4th – 6th September 2023.
This Summit will provide a platform to deliberate on the nexus of climate change, Africa’s development reality, and the need to push for increased investment in climate action globally and specifically in Africa.
The breakfast event brought together stakeholders from the government, civil society, private sector and academia critical to the agriculture, animal welfare, environmental, and food industries and culminated into a communique being delivered to the climate envoy present at the event.
The communique called upon African governments and the Africa Climate Envoys to acknowledge the climate and environmental impact of unsustainable, cruel, and unethical livestock production systems and push for a transition to humane, sustainable, and regenerative production systems.
They are urged to update nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to include targets for livestock farming greenhouse gas emissions, reflecting both mitigation and adaptation actions; increasing policy and financial resources for just, humane, and sustainable livestock farming that focuses on agroecological and regenerative approaches.
To champion for food sovereignty in Africa, which is the right of people to control their own food systems and supporting small-scale livestock farmers, promoting local food systems, and ensuring that agricultural policies prioritize the needs of local communities and the environment.
This also involves addressing corporate consolidation in food systems, particularly within industrial animal agriculture.
The governments are urged to mainstream and recognize the critical role that African traditional food systems (small-scale farmers), play in sustainable and agroecological approaches that provide food, protect our environment, and ensure a climate-safe future.
They are asked to emphasize locally relevant humane, sustainable, equitable, and resilient food systems, which include sustainable food production, nutrition, and dietary shifts towards less industrialized food production and healthy consumption patterns.