The Animal Issues Thematic Cluster (AITC)
The Animal Issues Thematic Cluster (AITC) is an international group of wildlife conservation, animal welfare and other stakeholders coming together to ensure that the care, protection and conservation of animals is included in the United Nations 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development and in the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
We were founded in 2017 by Thinking Animals United as part of the NGO Major Group, one of 9 Major Groups part of the Major Group and Other Stakeholders (MGoS) system set up by the United Nations for civil society participation. The AITC will apply for MGoS membership as a stand alone organization in time.
We operate as a fully democratic organization, with a functioning ToR (Terms of Reference / By-Laws), elections and codes of action. We have 3 Operating Partners who provide direction for the activities of the group and our work at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF): Our first team was Bonnie Wyper (Thinking Animals United/Founder), Jessica Bridgers (World Animals Net), and David Kirschbaum (NonViolence International). We serve terms as specified in the ToR. Currently we have monthly meetings on the third Wednesday of each month. For our first year, we had an exhibition and reception at the United Nations during the HLPF in July 2018, at which we disseminated information about our goals, attended meeting of Member States who presented their implementation plans for the & SDGs under consideration, and made the case for the importance of the care, protection and conservation of animals for the success of all 17 SDGs.
HISTORY of the Major Groups and Other Stakeholders (MGoS)
Since the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 – known as the Earth Summit, it was recognized that achieving sustainable development would require the active participation of all sectors of society and all types of people. Agenda 21, adopted at the Earth Summit, drew upon this sentiment and formalized nine sectors of society as the main channels through which broad participation would be facilitated in UN activities related to sustainable development. These are called the Major Groups and other Stakeholders.
Two decades after the Earth Summit, the importance of effectively engaging these nine sectors of society was reaffirmed by the Rio+20 Conference. Its outcome document “The Future We Want” highlights the role that Major Groups can play in pursuing sustainable societies for future generations. In addition, governments invited other stakeholders, including local communities, volunteer groups and foundations, migrants and families, as well as older persons and persons with disabilities, to participate in UN processes related to sustainable development, which can be done through close collaboration with the Major Groups.
Major Groups and other stakeholders (MGoS) continue to demonstrate a high level of engagement with intergovernmental processes at the UN. The coordination of their input to intergovernmental processes on sustainable development has been led by UNDESA/Division for Sustainable Development (DSD).
The United Nations Member States ultimately decide upon the modalities of participation of MGoS. Thus, the engagement and participation of MGoS in intergovernmental processes related to sustainable development varies depending on the particular sustainable development topic under discussion.