MENAW – 2nd Conference – Cairo – March 2010
Conference results include:
Improved Networking. The Conference provided a networking platform for the 125 participants from 23 countries. Nothing beats networking, and the exchange of ideas and lessons learned. Networking and communication will facilitate continued dialog and progress long after the conference is over.
Role of Legislation and Enforcement. The Conference improved understanding of key concepts in developing effective animal welfare legislation and overcoming challenges in enforcement. Putting into place well-crafted animal welfare legislation is crucial to improving animal welfare in the Middle East – without it, we have nothing we can pressure the authorities to enforce.
TNR. The Conference improved understanding that there is not universal agreement among animal welfare groups in how to approach animal population control, including the role of Trap Neuter Release. The lively panel presentation clarified the positions of the various groups, something always helpful in laying the groundwork for future progress in overcoming gridlock.
Circus and Wildlife Issues. The Conference provided a groundbreaking forum session where there was open dialog between the various stakeholders (private sector, NGOs, and government). Fully engaged face to face lively participation and communication like this makes possible progress on the issues.
Livestock. The Conference presented a clear picture, with supporting facts, of the impact of livestock on the environment. The positive and non-threatening nature of these presentations provided hard facts that demonstrate how a transition to a plant based diet can have a profound positive impact on animal welfare, people’s health, and the environment. Such a transition could also positively address issues such as humane slaughter, long distance transport of livestock, and farm animal welfare.
Zoos. The conference provided tools to improve the capacity of participants to assess zoos and improve the quality of life for animals in captivity, several presentations were held to demonstrate zoo check list procedures.
Publicity/Marketing. The Conference presented ideas for effectively communicating ideas and campaigns to the public. The Conference also generated many take home ideas through display of over 35 campaign posters developed by MENAW member societies.
Fund Raising. The Conference presented creative and proven ideas and concepts to improve the fundraising of MENAW Member Societies. Without effective fundraising, none of the Member Societies can exist. Human Factors. The Conference improved understanding in two often downplayed but key “human” areas. The first improved the ability to recognise and mitigate “burnout” among animal welfare activists – if we become burned out, we can no long be of service to the animals. The second are improved the awareness of ways animal welfare groups can more effectively work together by breaking down the “people” barriers which too often exist between animal welfare groups.
OIE Participation. Participation (including Chairing the Day 1 Sessions) by the OIE (World Organization for Animal Welfare) indicated enhanced recognition of the important role of animal welfare NGOs in the Middle East.
Alternatives. A pre-conference seminar raised awareness significantly regarding Alternatives to Animal Experiments in Education and Training in the Middle East.
Vet Training. A two week post-conference vet training programme upgraded the skills of eight Middle East Region Vets, with an emphasis on TNR.
Translation. The Conference provided real time English-Arabic and Arabic-English translation/interpretation through wireless headphones, which greatly increased the effectiveness of the presentations and the exchanges of information and ideas.
MENAW Role. The Conference produced lively discussions on the role that MENAW should play and how it should go about this. A carefully designed role for MENAW will improve MENAW’s effectiveness and avoid friction between member societies. General consensus was that MENAW should play an educate and empower role for its Member Societies, coupled with endorsement of certain animal welfare policy issues to which all member societies could agree without creating friction among members with different philosophies and approaches (while possibly helping to incubate independent sub-groups of member societies interested in working on controversial issues to which all member societies could not otherwise agree.)
Board. Following an election at the Conference, MENAW now has a diverse and fully populated Board of Directors to guide progress.
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