CITES - “Sustaining all life on Earth” announced as theme of World Wildlife Day 2020

Geneva, 19 November 2019:  The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) announced today the theme of United Nations World Wildlife Day 2020: “Sustaining all life on Earth”.

The year 2020, known as a “biodiversity super year”, will host several major global events that place biodiversity at the forefront of the global sustainable development agenda. It provides a unique opportunity to deliver transformative progress for the conservation and sustainable use of the species of wild animals and plants in response to global sustainable development challenges that can best be addressed with nature-based solutions.

The theme of World Wildlife Day 2020, “Sustaining all life on earth”, encompasses all wild animal and plant species as a component of biodiversity as well as the livelihoods of people, especially those who live closest to the nature. It also underlines the importance of sustainable use of natural resources in support of the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including Goal 14 (Life Below Water), Goal 15 (Life on Land), Goal 1 (No Poverty) and Goal 12 (Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns).

CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said: “Wildlife, namely the species of both wild animals and plants for the purpose of World Wildlife Day, is an integral part of the world’s biological diversity which has the greatest resonance with the general public. In the run-up to and on World Wildlife Day 2020 we will raise awareness of the multitude of benefits of wildlife to people, the interlinkages between the various components of biodiversity and the threats they are facing. It is also a good opportunity to call on governments around the world, civil society, private sector and individuals to add their voices and take actions to help conserve wildlife and ensure sustainable use before it’s too late”.

The CITES Secretariat, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and other UN system organizations, Member States, biodiversity-related conventions and civil society, are unrolling a series of global and national events and social media activities around World Wildlife Day 2020, including a high-level event at the UN Headquarters in New York on 3 March, a film festival and international youth art competition.

In line with the UN General Assembly Resolution proclaiming World Wildlife Day, the CITES Secretariat calls on all member States and organizations of the United Nations system and other global, regional and sub-regional organizations, non-governmental organizations and all interested individuals, to:

  • observe and raise awareness of the theme for World Wildlife Day 2020;
  • associate the celebrations with major national and international conservation events;
  • build collaborative partnerships;
  • organize campaigns to support the conservation and sustainable use of wild animals and plants and use targeted strategies to influence consumer behaviour and reduce demand for illegally-sourced wildlife and their products;
  • make use of the World Wildlife Day logo as widely as possible.

More information on the values of wildlife as a component of biodiversity, the interlinkage between genetic, species and ecosystem diversity, the various threats facing wildlife, and promotional materials to illustrate the theme will be made available at a later stage on the World Wildlife Day website and social media channels.

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#DoOneThingToday to help conserve the world’s biodiversity

On 20 December 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3 March – the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973 – as UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.

The UNGA resolution also designated the CITES Secretariat as the facilitator for the global observance of this special day for wildlife on the UN calendar. World Wildlife Day has now become the most important global annual event dedicated to wildlife.

World Wildlife Day will be celebrated in 2020 under the theme "Sustaining all life on Earth", encompassing all wild animal and plant species as key components of the world's biodiversity. This aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goals 1, 12, 14 and 15, and their wide-ranging commitments on alleviating poverty, ensuring sustainable use of resources, and on conserving life both on land and below water to halt biodiversity loss.

Earth is home to countless species of fauna and flora – too many to even attempt counting. This rich diversity, and the billions of years during which its myriad elements have interacted, are precisely what has made our planet inhabitable for all living creatures, including humans. Historically, we have depended on the constant interplay and interlinkages between all elements of the biosphere for all our needs: the air we breathe, the food we eat, the energy we use, and the materials we need for all purposes. However, unsustainable human activities and overexploitation of the species and natural resources that make up the habitats and ecosystems of all wildlife are imperiling the world’s biodiversity. Nearly a quarter of all species are presently at risk of going extinct in the coming decades, and their demise would only speed up the disappearance of countless others, putting us in danger as well.

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