On 20 December 2013, the Sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly decided to proclaim 3 March, the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as World Wildlife Day, to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora.

In its resolution, the General Assembly reaffirmed the intrinsic value of wildlife and its various contributions, including ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic, to sustainable development and human well-being, and recognized the important role of CITES in ensuring that international trade does not threaten the species’ survival.

The General Assembly requested the CITES Secretariat, in collaboration with relevant organizations of the United Nations system, to facilitate the implementation of World Wildlife Day.

Welcoming the news, CITES Secretary-General, Mr John E. Scanlon, said, “World Wildlife Day is an ideal opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides to people. At the same time, the Day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.”

“We invite all member States, relevant organizations of the United Nations system as well as all other interested organizations and individuals — from airports to museums to schools — to get involved in this global celebration of wildlife”, added Scanlon

The CITES Secretariat has created a dedicated World Wildlife Day Facebook page to share news and stories of the Day, which can be followed at: https://www.facebook.com/WorldWildlifeDay.

Background

In its resolution, the UN General Assembly noted the resolution made at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP16) held in Bangkok from 3 to 14 March 2013, designating 3 March as World Wildlife Day, in order to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora.

The CITES resolution was sponsored by the Kingdom of Thailand, the Host of CITES CoP16, which transmitted the outcomes of CITES CoP16 to the UN General Assembly.

Logo courtesy International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation

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