Equine charity puts in the donkey work at UN forum

The Donkey Sanctuary's Director of Advocacy Ian Cawsey at the UN's High-Level Political Forum in New York this week.
The Donkey Sanctuary’s Director of Advocacy Ian Cawsey at the UN’s High-Level Political Forum in New York this week. © The Donkey Sanctuary

International equine charity The Donkey Sanctuary has taken a seat at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in New York.

The event is the UN’s main annual discussion forum focusing on the progress and development of the SDGs, set by the UN in 2015 and due to run until 2030. They are designed to move the world towards a sustainable future for all.

This year’s meeting was an opportunity for The Donkey Sanctuary to speak to governments, UN departments and NGO’s to grow its influence, especially with member states with large numbers of working donkeys and mules.

“The Donkey Sanctuary has a simple message: a sustainable planet has to be sustainable for all that live on it,” said Ian Cawsey, Director of Advocacy at The Donkey Sanctuary.

“Goals such as zero hunger, zero poverty, gender empowerment and access to education are more likely to be achieved if working donkeys and mules are well cared for and seen as an integral part of the communities in which they live.”

This year, for the first time, The Donkey Sanctuary attended under the umbrella group of the International Coalition for Working Equids (ICWE), with partners Brooke, SPANA and World Horse Welfare. As a group, ICWE brought its experiences from different countries and varied climates to present a truly global picture of the lives of working donkeys, horses and mules and to show how better care for equines means better livelihoods for the communities’ depending on them.\

The ICWE stand, opposite UN HQ in New York.
The ICWE stand, opposite UN HQ in New York. © The Donkey Sanctuary

One major forum event was a debate in the UN’s prestigious Trusteeship Council Chamber where The Donkey Sanctuary’s advocacy team was joined by Senegal’s UN Ambassador Mr Abdulaye Barro and Nicole Carta from the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development.

“During these discussions, the Economic Commission for Africa delegate invited The Donkey Sanctuary to make a presentation to the African Regional Forum for Sustainable Development in Zimbabwe next year. We were delighted to accept as this is a great opportunity to be right at the heart of something we are keen to pursue,” Cawsey said.

During the forum, The Donkey Sanctuary was also invited to host an exhibition of its work in the park plaza across the road from the UN building. “This afforded an opportunity for informal meetings with member states, UN departments, NGOs as well as the general public,” Cawsey said.

“Our work at the UN is crucial because we are winning over converts to our cause, especially from countries where there are large numbers of working donkeys and mules. There are no losers in this work. We want better care for donkeys and mules, they want better livelihoods for their people. But by working together we can both achieve our aims”.

The Donkey Sanctuary is an international animal welfare charity, with its headquarters in Devon, UK.  The charity works in 40 countries globally contributing to the welfare of 1.5 million donkeys around the world.

Ian Cawsey with MP Stephen Twigg, Chair at UK parliament's International Development Select Committee.
Ian Cawsey with MP Stephen Twigg, Chair at UK parliament’s International Development Select Committee. © The Donkey Sanctuary

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