Animal Welfare Organisation Warns of Inaction Taken by Governments at UN Bonn Climate Change Conference

FOUR PAWS had hoped that negotiations would finally recognise the need for a holistic approach to food systems


BONN/VIENNA, 16 June 2023 – The Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB 58) closed after two weeks of negotiations, laying the groundwork and agenda for COP28, the United Nations (UN) key set piece event, which will be held in Dubai later this year. While there were minor gains made on adaptation, loss and damage, as well as climate finance, there was very little progress overall and in particular on meeting the Paris Climate Agreement targets and the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Progress on agreement of the agenda plagued the conference from the beginning, with only the final sign-off coming on the penultimate day. In his staggering closing remarks for the conference, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, criticised the lack of momentum. “I see a lack of ambition.  A lack of trust.  A lack of support.  A lack of cooperation. The climate agenda is being undermined. At a time when we should be accelerating action, there is backtracking.”

Sophie Aylmer, FOUR PAWS' Head of Farm Animals and Nutrition Policy, stated that little had been agreed in discussions on agriculture and food security; a key priority for the incoming presidency.

“The speed and the scale of what is actually needed in this sector is huge, with the indecision bordering on a dereliction of duty. Animal welfare, which needs to be at the heart of climate action, was not on the agenda, yet again.”

Sophie Aylmer, FOUR PAWS Head of Farm Animals and Nutrition Policy

Aylmer added, "Global animal welfare organisation, FOUR PAWS, alongside other NGOs had hoped that negotiators at SB 58 would finally recognise the need for a holistic approach to food systems based on agroecology and reduced overconsumption of animal products in the global north. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reported, we cannot address climate change without tackling how we currently farm and what we eat, highlighting improvements to animal welfare as co-benefits of incremental dietary shifts and bringing equity to global food sovereignty and through appropriate financial backing for a systemic change.”

 "It is deeply concerning that some parties still propose ‘precision agriculture’ or ‘sustainable intensification’ as the solution to global challenges. However, ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture’ will only mean more suffering for animals and smallholder farmers and the environment.”

Sophie Aylmer, FOUR PAWS Head of Farm Animals and Nutrition Policy

Aylmer concluded, “The lack of progress now means that the work has been kicked down the road to COP28. Parties need to make progress before Dubai now to avoid wasting time. FOUR PAWS will be at the UN Food Systems Summit Stocktaking moment in Rome in July, and we will use this opportunity to push further the importance of transforming our food systems not intensifying them.”

At last year's COP27, for the first time ever in the conference's history, pavilions dedicated to food system change were at the event. The Food4Climate pavilion, organised by global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS and 15 other partners from around the world, will return at COP28.


The Bonn Climate Change Conference took place between June 5th to 15th 2023 with 4,800 participants attending the event over the two weeks.

COP28 will take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 30th November to 12th December this year.

“The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, France, on 12 December 2015. It entered into force on 4 November 2016. Its overarching goal is to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and pursue efforts “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet. The 17 SDGs are integrated—they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.”

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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation 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 organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS 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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