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Upon my return from New York, where I attended the United Nations High Level Political Forum 2018, I began thinking about the larger implications of our work at FOUR PAWS and even my work as Head of Disaster Relief Unit. In an uncertain world, there ARE some great opportunities for the betterment of this world for animals.


In 2015, when the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were announced, animal and conservation organizations were surprised that animal welfare, animal protection and /or animal care nor conservation was not taken seriously as a part of the importance of human sustainable development. Animals were lumped into the environmental sections that focused on land and water usage.


I believe this was a missed opportunity by not taking on these interconnected problems. Additionally, animals are living sentient beings that simply are not just inanimate objects or assets to be managed and sold. FOUR PAWS continued to lobby for a voice for animals and I am very happy to represent FOUR PAWS at the United Nations. It’s been a very busy marathon of events and opportunities to speak up for animals at the United Nations High Level Political Forum 2018. This is the final gathering of colleagues and partners who have worked over the past year on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and national level implementation of the SDGs that are currently being reviewed at the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs). I have been working with colleagues learning about how we can best approach and successfully lobby for animals at the United Nations.


My particular focus at FOUR PAWS with disaster management and at the United Nations, FOUR PAWS helps to connect animals to every aspect of the work at the United Nations. There is a slow but positive change at the United Nations. Thusly, it is evermore important for FOUR PAWS to attend these meetings to understand global changes in attitudes towards animals and their welfare. I was pleased to learn that factory farming was a topic of concern for many nationals as it related to their sustainable long-term development. Sustainable cities and communities are also one of the many goals that included disaster preparedness and response as population around the world continue to migrate towards cities, we will need better cities that provides green space for animals and communities to enjoy, better ways to monitor the health of the community and through the animals and a sustainable locally source foods for the community that provide food security.


While I wade through all of the policy documentation and the different interpretations of the language about sustainable development, the actual message we are conveying is simple ‘animal welfare is important to human welfare. Poor animal welfare is an indicator of poor human welfare and likewise good animal welfare is an indicator of good community well-being.’


It is important to address these concerns at the United Nations, to speak to a global audience whether it’s about the concerns of the farmer with industry in Myanmar or in Austria or about the conditions of animals in South Africa or Australia. I am grateful to be part of the team of professionals that can help animals on the ground and speak to the heads of state about policies that revolve around animals.


The information that I have gathered and the contact I have made will allow FOUR PAWS to continue to make high level advancements for animals and animal welfare. I am glad that the meetings are over and I can return to Vienna regroup and prepare for the next disaster mission.