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World Wildlife Day highlights the need to protect nature

Billions of people in both developed and developing nations benefit daily from wildlife for food, medicine, and energy, as well as for recreation, inspiration and many other critical contributions to human well-being. Unfortunately, the biodiversity crisis – which threatens millions of animal and plant species with extinction – is currently accelerating, severely endangering both wildlife and their important contributions to human life. 

In this context, the World Wildlife Day (WWD), celebrating the beauty, diversity, and invaluable benefits of the flora and fauna that surround us, is an occasion to fight against biodiversity loss and increase conservation efforts globally. WWD – celebrated on March 3 and marking the birthday of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a multilateral treaty to protect endangered wildlife established on this date in 1973 – is an important reminder to continue fighting against wildlife crime and human-induced species loss which, besides damaging nature, have multiple economic, environmental, and social impacts.

This year, WWD will be celebrated under the theme “Partnerships for wildlife conservation” and aims to honor all forms of collaboration to protect nature, ranging from small groups of individuals posting photographs online to increase awareness of threatened species to large-scale, intergovernmental conservation efforts to protect such species from extinction. 

Experts will focus on two main sub-topics related to this year’s theme: 1) creating partnerships to conserve marine wildlife, which is currently facing even more severe problems than terrestrial life, and 2) engaging with the business and finance sectors to acquire funding for protecting wildlife. Although business has long been seen as an exploitative and unsustainable affair, if we are to reverse the massive biodiversity loss our planet is currently facing, successful partnerships for conservation with various businesses is essential both for acquiring sufficient funding to protect wildlife and for ensuring the sustainability of business and industrial operations.

By marking the 50th anniversary of CITES – an organization that currently grants protection to over 37,000 species of animals and plants – this year’s WWD will celebrate the invaluable services this institution provided, and its crucial role in the formation of many partnerships contributing to wildlife and biodiversity conservation. To help safeguard the majestic and diverse non-human life surrounding us, and thus protect the future of life on Earth, UN agencies, private sectors organizations, and non-governmental organizations must intensify their collaboration by sustaining existing partnerships, as well as building new ones.

By Andrei Ionescu, Staff Writer

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