On 20th December 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3rd March, the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness on the importance of world’s wild animals and plants.
World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora as well as a platform to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation gives back to people. At the same time, this day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.
Given that almost one quarter of the world’s population is aged between 10 and 24 years old, vigorous efforts need to be made to encourage young people, as the future leaders and decision makers of the world, to act at local, regional and global levels to protect endangered wildlife. The engagement and empowerment of youth is high on the agenda of the United Nations leading many youth programmes and youth-based activities on environment are organised in various UN system organisations and agencies. Realising the significant role that young people play today, the theme for the World Wildlife Day this year is “Listen to the Young Voices.”
World Wildlife Day 2017 encourages youth around the world to rally together to address ongoing major threats to wildlife including habitat change, over-exploitation or illicit trafficking. The world has witnessed the positive impacts on conservation issues made by some young conservation leaders. Governments, law makers, enforcement officers, customs officials and park rangers across every region are scaling up their efforts to protect wildlife. It is also up to every citizen’s effort, young and old, to protect wildlife and their habitat as we all have a role to play. Our collective conservation actions can make a difference between a species’ survival and extinction.
The World Assembly of Youth (WAY), encourage young people to be the agents of Sustainable Development in upholding the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption and stopping the degradation of our planet’s natural environment.
Let this day reminds us that we all have a task to protect wildlife and give back to our mother nature. We need to put aside our differences and unite as a powerful force in building a sustainable future in which humans live in harmony with nature.
Happy World Life Day!