The approval of this resolution happened during the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2), which took place in Nairobi from February 28 to March 2, 2022.
The United Nations Environment Assembly meets every two years in a broad and participatory manner to set priorities on global environmental policies.
This year, in an extraordinary event and with the unanimous approval of the 193 Member States, the UNEA adopted the resolution on the ‘Links between animal welfare, environment and sustainable development’ which highlights animals as an essential part of ecosystems. This unprecedented resolution also calls to protect them, to protect their habitats and to meet welfare requirements in the context of halting biodiversity loss, restoring ecosystems and mitigating climate change.
The initiative was proposed by six African countries (Ghana, Burkina Faso, Senegal, South Sudan, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo), and Pakistan and was promoted by 150 animal rights NGOs.
According to the promoters of this resolution, a comprehensive understanding of how animal welfare impacts the environmental crisis would help the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) expand and enrich its scientific-regulatory base, in order to create more efficient policies and strengthen the collective capacity to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
“If a resolution of these is approved and shows the impact that animal welfare or the lack of it has in different countries, in different activities, the countries would have to start providing solutions to end certain practices that adversely affect the planet. This is particularly relevant in animal farming and the reason why cattle farming countries are against the resolution”, said Luis Carlos Sarmiento, Founder and Director of the ALA Project based in Colombia and the only animal protection organisation of Latin America that was present at this important meeting.