The Donkey Sanctuary recently spoke up on behalf of donkeys and mules at the United Nations High Level Political Forum. Focusing on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), our representatives highlighted how donkeys are essential to sustainability.

The event is the UN’s main annual discussion forum focussing on the progress and development of the SDGs. 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.

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

Ian Cawsey at UN Forum
Ian Cawsey, Director of Advocacy.
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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.

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.

Ian Cawsey says: “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.”

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. Ian Cawsey says: “This afforded an opportunity for informal meetings with member states, UN departments, NGOs as well as the general public.”

As Ian concludes: “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”.

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