Today, we celebrate World Wildlife Day, which has become the most important global annual event dedicated to wildlife!
What is World Wildlife Day?
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.
On World Wildlife Day, we celebrate the special place of wild plants and animals in their many varied and beautiful forms as a component of the world’s biological diversity.
Theme for 2020
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 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).
On World Wildlife Day 2020 we celebrate wildlife as a component of biodiversity in its many beautiful and varied forms, raise awareness of the multitude of benefits of wildlife to people, the threats it is facing, and the urgent need for governments, 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.
Why is wildlife important to our existence?
Wild species of animals and plants are an integral part of the world’s biological diversity and have the greatest resonance with the general public. The ecosystems where wildlife are found and interplay with the physical environment, such as forests, wetlands, plains, grasslands, coral reefs and deserts, represent another aspect of biological diversity, together with genetic diversity.
The vast array of interactions among the various components of biodiversity makes the planet habitable for all species, including humanity. The tapestry of life on our planet is the outcome of over 3.5 billion years of evolutionary history. The richness of species and ecosystems have sustained human civilization and development for millennia, from providing food and nourishment, material for handicraft and construction to the very air we breathe.
Events by the United Nations for WWD 2020
The year 2020, known as a ‘biodiversity super year’, will host several major events that place biodiversity at the forefront of the global sustainable development agenda.
The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), 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 today.
The Secretariats of CITES and the Convention on Biological Diversity, UNDP and UNEP are also collaborating with the Jackson WILD to organize a World Wildlife Day Film Showcase to galvanize the power of media and catalyze change for wildlife and biodiversity conservation. The winning films will be highlighted during the WWD2020 event at UN Headquarters. The CITES Secretariat also teamed up with the International Fund for Animal Welfare to organize a #WWD2020 International Youth Art Contest.
What to do on World Wildlife Day
There are plenty of ways for you to join the World Wildlife Day celebrations, wherever you are. Whether you take part in big events or even the smallest of gatherings, you can help raise awareness of wildlife and promote conservation and sustainable use.
– Get to know the animal and plant species under threat where you live, in your area, and find out more on the threats and challenges they and their habitats face, and what can be done to conserve them. Share this knowledge with your family and friends.
– Use the hashtags for this year’s celebration: #WorldWildlifeDay #WWD2020 #SustainingAllLife #Biodiversity2020 #SustainableUse
– Show your appreciation for rangers, law enforcement officers, as well as youth conservation leaders and all those who are on the frontlines every day in the fight to conserve wildlife.
– Launch a new campaign linked to World Wildlife Day – make it specific to a local issue or species!
– Collaborate with local zoos, parks, botanical gardens, national parks, aquariums or museums and encourage them to celebrate World Wildlife Day – suggest entry by donation on that day!
– Use your talent to show your support to wildlife and biodiversity conservation and inspire the world.
– Donate to your local conservation projects. Remember, donations are not always financial!
Every Day is Wildlife Day!
Wildlife conservation is an issue that needs attention every day. The threats weighing on wildlife are often large and complex, so much so individuals might feel powerless about them. However, every person’s small actions add up to a much larger solution – making the difference between a species surviving or disappearing forever.
– Just #DoOneThingToday to make a difference and help wildlife conservation. The video below is the story of a man who did just that and ended up planting an entire forest in Assam!
– Set a Goal – Live your daily life with the smallest negative impact on the environment, wildlife, their habitats, or the planet’s biodiversity.
– Mobilize – Encourage local schools, clubs, governments and businesses to discuss wildlife conservation and what you and your community can do to help.
– Visit – Aquariums, botanical gardens, national parks and nature reserves. Research holiday destinations and countries that work hard to protect wildlife and habitats.
– Consume Responsibly – By not purchasing products made from illegally sourced protected wildlife or their parts and products, you can stop wildlife trafficking from being a profitable enterprise. More information can be found through your national or local wildlife authorities or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species or Wild fauna and Flora (CITES).
– Volunteer – We cannot always give money, but we can donate our time. Often wildlife organisations and zoos have volunteer programs. You could also help clean beaches, rescue wild animals or teach tourists about your local habitat.
– Stay informed – Learn more about our planet’s flora and fauna, including those that are in danger of extinction. Research ways that you or your community can conserve and protect wildlife. Inform yourself on current environmental matters and be aware of your individual impact on ecosystems and wildlife. Think globally, act locally.
– Speak up – Share your knowledge, passion and questions about wildlife conservation with your friends, family and community – either in person or online. World Wildlife Day is an opportunity for you to make a difference in your own special way.