Perhaps the most widely accepted framework for community development and human well-being today is the United Nations' 2030 agenda, more commonly known as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Agreed to by all 193 member states of the UN, the goals outline international priorities to achieve sustainable human development. As the preeminent guidance on human development, these goals inform the policies of governments, non-governmental organizations, and the UN system.
While the SDGs are certainly more comprehensive than purely economic measures of progress such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), they place limited emphasis on the value of the natural world. Despite this, animals and their habitats are interwoven in the fate of human development. All species, big and small, imperiled and ubiquitous, have an important role to play in building a healthy, prosperous, and sustainable future for humans. This report will examine these connections and the value of animal welfare and habitat conservation in achieving each sustainable development goal. As we will see, effective animal welfare and conservation can contribute significantly to the achievement of these goals, and promoting animal welfare provides an important avenue to improve both human and animal lives. IFAW seeks to enhance awareness of the connections between animal welfare, conservation, and human development to inspire greater collaboration through which to achieve a shared goal of improving conditions for all species and the planet.