Mother cow and calf in a field

Despite COVID-19: FOUR PAWS fights for animal welfare worldwide in 2021

Global animal welfare organization granted observer status at key UN summit, calls for transformational change on production and consumption globally


January 5, 2022 - The Fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), will be hosted by February in Nairobi. FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organization, has been granted observer status for the key event.

FOUR PAWS reiterates its support to ensure environmental and animal welfare policies are integral in the global recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic and support the furthering of the UN´s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Josef Pfabigan, CEO of FOUR PAWS, spoke of his pride that FOUR PAWS, who have led on animal welfare advocacy across the world for the past thirty-five years, to actively participate and engage with member states at the major UN conference. “We are honoured to have been given observer status and are pleased part to be a part of the discussion at this important crossroads event. It underlines the importance of animal welfare in this discussion regarding crucial environmental questions and for the advancement of the UN´s SDGs.”

Pfabigan also spoke of the “urgent necessity” to “come together and push for transformational change to the world´s patterns of production and consumption” by putting “green policies, which include animal welfare and food system security, at the very heart of the global recovery from COVID-19, both economically and societally.

“Any other path taken would be at best, a missed opportunity, and at worse, a grave dereliction of duty.”

As we have seen with the Glasgow Climate Pact, from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at this year's Cop26, the commitment to cut methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 is essential to tackle the crux of the climate crisis. This target must be the “minimum requirement” to have a long-term lasting effect and meet the Paris Climate Accords targets.

Finally, Pfabigan, outlined the other key reforms which are needed and that FOUR PAWS have been advocating for decades, “We need the UNEA and United Nations Environment Programme to look at the nexus between the environment, animals and the sustainable development goals. By understanding this nexus and interconnectedness we can address how we can affect the planet in more positive ways through better animal welfare for all animals and the communities that rely on them."

Observer status grants FOUR PAWS access to the working documents of the UN Environment Assembly first-hand and at the same time as the Committee of the Permanent Representatives while having the ability to submit to written contributions to these key papers.

Finally, it also will allow FOUR PAWS to make oral statements during the discussions, circulate written statements to Governments through the UNEP Secretariat, and participate in the Plenary, the Committee of the Whole and the Ministerial Consultations discussions.

FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organization for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need, and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organization advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy, and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam, as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. 

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