Animal welfare included at India humanitarian summit
We recently attended the India Resilience Summit in New Delhi, to highlight the importance of including animals in humanitarian discussions and programmes.
The summit was organised by Sphere India, a national coalition of humanitarian agencies in India which promotes quality and accountability in humanitarian and disaster risk reduction (DRR) action.
Currently, animals are not considered as a priority in humanitarian discussions and programmes in India. It is important that we actively and regularly participate in key humanitarian events like this to highlight the importance of protecting animals in disasters.
Our recommendations for animals
I was joined by Akash Maheshwari, Disaster Veterinary Officer, and representatives from Heifer International and Donkey Sanctuary to present on the importance of animal protection in disasters. Over 200 participants attended, with emerging recommendations to be consulted on by the government in 2018.
Based on our presentation and the discussions, the group captured the following recommendations to be included in the report:
- animal protection to be integrated into disaster management policies, plans and programmes at all administrative levels
- animals to be a part of the larger humanitarian campaigns
- capacity building on managing animals pre, during and post disasters
- a coalition to provide technical support in pre, during and post disaster phases
- convergence of a national animal disease reporting system.
A positive platform for the future
These platforms provide us the perfect opportunities to share our voice and recommendations to integrate animals into the outcome documents and plans. These outcomes further help us to influence the humanitarian and government stakeholders who can commit resources and own responsibility to protect animals from disasters in the future.
This summit on Monday, 12 March, marked the launch of the Resilient India Campaign, 2018. The campaign, an initiative of Sphere India, aims to mobilise various stakeholders to build a disaster-resilient India. The outcome report, including our recommendations, will help guide humanitarian agencies and government to take appropriate action.