If you’re lucky enough to have purchased a Days Of The Year wall calendar (or received one as a gift), you’ll no doubt have enjoyed the commentary on the inner cover which talks about Bolivia’s endeavour to gain international recognition for the camelid, and their petition to the UN to decree 2016 as the International Year of Camelids. If you haven’t got your calendar yet, here’s the text from the page:
For many thousands of years domestic camels, llamas, alpacas and other animals in the camelid family have played an enormous cultural and economic role in the societies they’re part of. From the success of the ancient Incan empire, to everyday life in South America, the role of camelids can’t be under-stated.
But the modern-day camelid struggles; over-industrialisation, hunting for meat or wool, and the effects of poverty and violence threatens these important animals.
To address this imbalance, the Bolivian government petitioned the UN to officially recognise 2016 as the “International Year of Camelids”. Now during 2016, the UN will work to promote the camelid to raise awareness, to shine a spotlight on their breeds, farmers, produce and culture, and to attract investment and support for the breeds.
Unfortunately, however, this isn’t entirely accurate.
In fact, 2016 is not the International Year Of Camelids, and the information in our calendar is incorrect.
In 2014, the Bolivian government petitioned the UN, and their resolution made it to draft status. Against all expectations, however, the resolution was removed from the UN’s official listing of international years – despite it having been listed on the page since the original petition was raised.
It’s unclear at this stage as to why the petition failed, though we suspect that it may be due to nothing more than a bureaucratic oversight on reviewing and passing the resolution in time for the beginning of the new year – in fairness, we imagine that anybody involved in international politics has had a busy year.
For reference, before the resolution was drafted and listed, the UN had already decreed that 2016 would be the International Year of Pulses. If we’d been designing our wall calendar now, this is the theme we’d have run with.
So, what now?
Our team debated about how we should react to this discovery – we think that it’s hugely unfair for the camelid to have come so close to gaining much-needed recognition (through the hard work of those who raise, only to disappear off the agenda without a trace.
We believed in the resolution, and in the story, we told in our calendar. As a result of our own desk research into camelids, they’ve become a kind of impromptu mascot for us for 2016. So much so that, even though the UN have binned the resolution, we’d like to blur some of our rules a little and to list the event on our website anyway.
If the UN doesn’t have time for camelids, the least we can do is to make sure that we do. Sure, pulses deserve a year, too. But camelids are too awesome to ignore, and they deserve some attention.
With the above in mind, we’ve added a listing to our site for the Year Of Camelids (note that, in line with our policies, we’ve removed the word ‘international’ from the name to avoid implying that the event is officially endorsed by or associated the UN or any other international body). Throughout 2016, we’ll be doing our bit to draw attention to camelids, and trying to drum up some awareness to fill the void left by the removal of the resolution, and hopefully, somebody at the UN might take notice and put camelids back on the global agenda.
Whilst we’d still like to apologise for the resultant erroneous information in our calendar, we hope you’ll join us in embracing this opportunity to raise awareness around an important group of animals which affect the lives of many people around the world, which have otherwise lost their moment in the spotlight.