Extension of the WAZA 2023 Animal Welfare Goal

Posted: 10 April 2024

Since 2022, WAZA has undertaken the process of strategic planning to leverage the role of our global community as leaders in animal welfare and conservation. In the pursuit of achieving our new vision, the achievement of the WAZA 2023 Animal Welfare Goal (23AWG) is vital.   

In 2023, six associations met the 23AWG. These associations are  the Latin American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (ALPZA), the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA), the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), the Pan African Association of Zoos and Aquaria (PAAZA) and the Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia (ZAA). 

Others began progressing towards achieving it, and in early 2024, the Southeast Asian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (SEAZA) met the WAZA 23AWG. To allow all WAZA member associations to achieve the 23AWG, the WAZA Council decided, in January 2024, to extend the deadline. 


SEAZA is the latest WAZA member association that has met the 23AWG.

The achievement of this Goal is a requirement for WAZA membership, as established in Article 5 of WAZA bylaws: Association Members shall be responsible for the development of animal welfare evaluation programmes based on standards agreed to by WAZA and for the enforcement of those agreed-upon standards on their membership.” 

All WAZA National and Regional Associations must comply with it in keeping with the new timeline.   

The updated timeline is as follows:  

By November 2024: 

  • WAZA National and Regional Associations must have an animal welfare evaluation process in place and such a process must include specific elements approved by WAZA. 
  • WAZA will be reaching out to WAZA National and Regional Associations members in mid-2024 for updates on progress toward this goal.  
  • While we are still exploring the feasibility of the timeline, the second element in the 23WG, which expends involvement to include institutional members (zoos and aquariums members) is likely to be as follows:

By November 2027: 

  • All WAZA institutional members must be compliant with this process. 

This decision acknowledges the significant progress already achieved towards this ambitious goal and considers various factors that may have influenced its implementation since the adoption of the Resolution in 2019, including the breakout of a global pandemic. 

In January 2024, the WAZA Executive Office got in touch with National Associations who had expressed their will to rely on another association to evaluate their WAZA members. Please make sure you sign and return the Agreement on reliance on another Association’s Animal Welfare Evaluation Process which can be downloaded here to formalise that intent. 

Please, reach out to Paula Cerdán, Head of Conservation and Animal Welfare at paula.cerdan@waza.org if you have any questions. 

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.

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