Cow and calf

Historic animal welfare resolution adopted at United Nations Environment Assembly

The resolution had unanimous support from Member States highlighting the nexus between animal welfare, environment, and sustainable development 


MARCH 2, 2022 - NAIROBI – A resolution on animal welfare was adopted at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), it has secured backing from a majority of Member States.

The Animal Welfare – Environment – Sustainable Development Nexus resolution proposed focused on how to deliver the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) whilst simultaneously addressing animal welfare and its relationship with humans and the ecosystem.

FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organization, who had observer status at the high-level assembly session in Kenya, said that this was a “historic and watershed moment for the animal welfare movement, which was decades in the making.”

"FOUR PAWS has led globally on animal welfare for the past 35 years and there are not many more pivotal moments than this.

This is a new dawn for animal welfare. The passing of the Animal Welfare Resolution will tackle the major issues of the nexus between animals and the health of global citizens, whilst simultaneously addressing the climate emergency. Many partners in the World Federation for Animals, of which FOUR PAWS is also a member, have worked towards this important goal.

The Resolution intends to move the goalposts ensuring key and essential provisions to set out and acknowledge animals’ sentience, encourage national policies, legislation, and enforcement for the protection of all animals.

This is now the first step in the right direction but also just the beginning. Livestock production is said to be the single most powerful driver of habitat loss on Earth. The exploitation and abuse of animals in factory farms is both a tragedy in terms of animal welfare and a key driver in the triple environmental crises of biodiversity loss, climate change and pollution."

"Time is running out. But the passing of this resolution shows that the political tide is beginning to turn on the most important issues we face globally.”

- Josef Pfabigan, CEO of FOUR PAWS


Full text for the resolution: Animal Welfare – Environment – Sustainable Development Nexus

The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) brings together representatives of the 193 Member States of the UN, businesses, civil society, and other stakeholders to agree on policies to address the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

The resumed Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) took place online and in Nairobi between 28th February and 2nd March 2022.

Observer status granted 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 allowed 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.


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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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