The UN Convention on Animal Health and Protection (UNCAHP) is a unique initiative to globally protect animals at the UN level. Initiated by the Global Animal Law GAL Association, the first draft was released in August 2018, thanks to the participation of experts worldwide in Animal Law.
"Animal protection is a global concern that requires global action. UNCAHP is a solution to help confront the challenges in animal protection and global health that
our world is facing."
As there is no global protection framework for animals to date, it is, therefore, urgently needed. Through the One Health/One Welfare concept, it is understood that we are all connected living-beings, whose health and welfare must be protected.
Why do we need a UN Convention (beyond a Declaration)?
A convention is a treaty which is legally-binding for member states. These nations can then implement the laws in the convention into their own legislation. A declaration of principles is more symbolic and is not legally-binding.
A declaration can be seen as a good first step to recognizing animal sentience and animal welfare as a global concern. However, a declaration is not enough to make a real, concrete difference in the legislation of member states.
Why do we need a Framework Convention?
Animal protection is an emerging concern at UNiversal level. As such, animal protection requires a framework to define objectives and processes of implementation. In this sense, UNCAHP provides encompassing definitions and states core principles as a strong basis for action. This can be likened to what has been done for Climate Change (UNFCCC) or biodiversity with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
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UNCAHP comes at the right time. Global consciousness for animal protection is rising. Moreover, two previous initiatives have paved the way for the convention: the International Convention for the Protection of Animals (ICAP) and the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW).
The first initiative proposed was ICAP by David Favre in 1988.
UDAW was created in 2005 with its first draft, coordinated by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), now called World Animal Protection (WAP).
UNCAHP was launched in 2019. The convention is an unique instrument, and is, by its substantive and comprehensive content, appropriate for adoption at UN level.
We hope that UNCAHP will be adopted by the UN General Assembly on or before 2029 and ready for implementation into the national legislation of member states.
Broad and inclusive objectives which have already been agreed in principle by almost all UN member states (182 of 193) through the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) standards.
General principles of animal law and far-reaching principles (Arts. 4-6 of
UNCAHP). Herewith the convention is realistic and visionary, providing the requisite framework for the protection of animal interests worldwide.
Furthermore, UNCAHP provides implementation guidelines to encourage collaboration. Drafted in a similar style to the CBD, UNCAHP reads and presents in suitable form to be endorsed by the UN.
In its conclusion, UNCAHP promotes public education and awareness, provides for the creation of a secretariat and conference of the parties as well as the reporting of member states.