Lobbying success, UN recognizes animal importance in natural disaster risk reduction

November 25 2016

A new UN agreement on disaster risk reduction gives animals increased prominence, and recognizes them as integral to people’s livelihoods

We have been lobbying the United Nations (UN) for three years, and had a breakthrough recently when Member States agreed to measure the impact of disasters on animals.

The measurement of impact on animals in natural disasters will now be part of the monitoring and evaluation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030).

One billion people rely on animals

Over one billion of the world’s poorest people rely on animals for food, transport and their livelihoods. Governments will now include animals in disaster risk reduction strategies, disaster management planning and thus, reduce suffering and saving livelihoods.

Countries have struggled to estimate how disasters affect animals. Decision-makers will now have more accurate and regular data on the impact of disasters on animals. They will be able to better reduce the risks animals are exposed to, and help communities prepare and get back on their feet more quickly.

A welcome step forward

Gerardo Huertas, our director of disaster management, said: “While saving human life in disaster must be the priority, the animals that people depend on for their livelihoods should come a close second. We’ve been fighting for many years to get animals included so this is a welcome step forward.

“This decision will help show the benefits of animal protection in hard figures… By agreeing that animal impacts must be accounted for, the world takes a step closer to full recognition that animals are a critical source of livelihoods and that the loss of animals has a significant social and economic impact on people.

“This will guide the disaster risk reduction policy and action in every single country in the world going forward and is a big step in protecting animals in disasters.”

Learn more about the work we do protect animals from natural disasters.

“While saving human life in disaster must be the priority, the animals that people depend on for their livelihoods should come a close second.” - Gerardo Huertas, director of disaster management

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