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Animals vital to achieving Sustainable Development Goals

·3 min read

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- A new report calls on international policymakers to integrate principles of animal welfare and wildlife conservation in all efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Thriving Together: The Critical Role of Animals in Achieving the SDGs has been released today by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) and features case studies from around the world that clearly demonstrate the importance of animal and habitat health to overall human well-being.

Part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by United Nations members in 2015, the SDGs outline international priorities to achieve sustainable human development, including management of population growth, infrastructure plans, and longevity of our natural resources. However, to date they place limited emphasis on the value of the natural world.

"Our connection with the natural world has never been clearer than it is at this moment, as demonstrated by the unprecedented impact of global climate change, global pandemics and environmental degradation," said Mark Hofberg, Campaigns Officer at IFAW and lead author of the report. "It is therefore necessary that we acknowledge this vital relationship and include animals at the start of all decisions around sustainable development."

Effective welfare and conservation actions will contribute significantly to achieving the SDGs and improving people's lives at the pace that is required for the health of our planet. Acknowledging the role of animals can lead to greater food security, prevention of disease, and strengthened contribution of vital species to overall ecosystem health—and thus increased resilience against the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

Key findings highlighted in the report include:

  • Climate Action, SDG #13. Large mammals such as elephants and whales are keystone species that help to promote growth and sequester carbon as they traverse vast habitats. Global losses of wildlife have cascading consequences throughout ecosystems, which in turn make humans more vulnerable to the dangers of climate change.

  • Life on Land, SDG #15. Humanity is at a critical juncture in preventing biodiversity loss and halting the extinction of endangered species. We rely on terrestrial ecosystems in both subtle and obvious ways, some of which we may not realize until it is too late. When wildlife habitats are protected, ecosystem services thrive and destructive forces are mitigated.

  • Life Below Water, SDG #14. When marine and coastal species are healthy and their habitats protected, they too contribute to key ecosystem services that support the functions and benefits of flora and fauna. Marine species are integral to the ocean-based resources upon which many communities absolutely depend.

  • Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG #8. In direct contrast to poaching and other wildlife exploitation, nature tourism creates economic growth in a sustainable way—focused on productive, inclusive and decent work for all. To Africa alone, 80% of tourism is attributed to wildlife viewing.

  • Good Health and Well-Being, SDG #3. Habitat destruction, unsanitary livestock conditions and global wildlife trade are just a few of the ways in which wildlife comes into closer and sustained contact with humans. Proper management would have a profound effect on protecting people from zoonotic disease spillover events. At the same time, evidence increasingly shows that immersion in nature is beneficial for physical and mental health.

IFAW advocates for the integration of animals into all stages of relevant human development projects—from policy, to planning, to evaluation. This includes disaster planning and risk reduction efforts, ensuring sustainable agriculture and fisheries practices, reducing the threat of animal consumption-based pandemics, and supporting global efforts to protect habitat and biodiversity of our lands and oceans.

To read the full report and IFAW's recommendations, click here.

For a selection of images available to the press, please view and download here.

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)

IFAW is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we're up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organizations and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at ifaw.org.

Press Contact:

Stacey Hedman
Director, Communications
Washington, DC
m: +1 508 737 2558
email: shedman@ifaw.org

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View original content:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/animals-vital-to-achieving-sustainable-development-goals-301575513.html

SOURCE International Fund for Animal Welfare