World Wild Life Day;  Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation

World Wild Life Day; Partnerships for Wildlife Conservatio

March 3 is World Wildlife Day. It is a United Nations International day to celebrate all the world’s wild animals and plants and the contribution that they make to our lives and the health  of the planet.


In 2023, the theme is “Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation”. The theme ‘Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation’ will provide the opportunity to highlight the people who are making a difference as well as to celebrate the bridge that CITES has been for these partnerships to form, making a significant contribution to sustainability, wildlife and biodiversity conservation. Within this theme, the day has a focus on two sub-topics:

Marine life & oceans – with around 70% of our planet being covered by water, the impact of marine conservation is incredibly important.

Business & finance – globally, conservation efforts need to be funded and this work needs to be done in collaboration with business – an area that, in the past, has been seen as exploitative and unsustainable. Successful partnerships for conservation must find ways of including business if we are to reverse the loss in biodiversity.


March 3 was chosen as it is the birthday of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, signed in 1973. This World Wildlife Day is also a celebration of CITES as it turns 50. CITES has sought to build partnerships and reconcile differences between the groups that are guided and governed by its regulations. At national and local levels, these partnerships have been essential in every country across the globe to focus on the conservation of species and ecosystems.


United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres; Human activities are laying waste to once-thriving forests, jungles, farmland, oceans, rivers, seas, and lakes. One million species teeter on the brink of extinction, due to habitat destruction, fossil fuel pollution and the worsening climate crisis. We must end this war on nature.

The good news is that we have the tools, the knowledge, and the solutions. 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which has helped protect thousands of plants and animals. And last year’s agreement on the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework marked an important step towards putting our planet on a path to healing.

As this year’s theme – ‘Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation’ – highlights, we need to work across governments, civil society, and the private sector to turn commitment into action. And we need much bolder actions now to cut emissions, accelerate renewable, and build climate resilience.

Throughout, we need to place the voices of local communities and indigenous people – our world’s most effective guardians of biodiversity – front and centre. Today and every day, let us all do our part to preserve natural habitats and build a thriving future for all living beings

UN General Assembly president Csaba Korosi; I’m pleased to be celebrating this important milestone with you all. Recently, we have made a great advance in the field of conservation and protection by adopting the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. This agreement shows a strong sense of solidarity with future generations of humanity, but also towards our environment, our flora and our fauna. It has reignited hope. 

The parties pledged, that by 2050, the extinction rate and risk of all species are reduced tenfold. I can only commend the resolve of this commitment, but we should not rest on our laurels now. We must do our utmost to implement it as best we can. For that, we need to resort to our most powerful tool building broad networks and fostering far reaching partnerships. Partnership is the key to rebuilding degraded areas and restoring healthy environments. 

It is also crucial in curbing wildlife related crimes to successfully protect biodiversity. Indigenous communities must be included in these partnerships. But if we really want to see change, we must boost conservation and protection funding too. We have to enhance our cooperation with the financial institutions and the private sector. Your views do matter, and we need you to voice your concerns, ideas and proposals. 

CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero; It’s a special day in the year and this year is even more of a milestone as it is also CITES 50th Birthday. This year we want to highlight some of the incredible work that is going on at the international, national and local level. It may involve multilateral organisations, countries, companies, communities or small groups. The common thread is that in all these cases they have recognized that they are stronger together than apart. We would like this World Wildlife Day to be a celebration of your stories, of partnerships that you see working or are involved with, and that are making a difference to wildlife conservation. 

In CITES’ 50th year, there has never been more of a need for effective wildlife conservation. We are seeing unprecedented drops in wild populations of both animals and plants. The balance of nature is being affected. We rely on wildlife to give us food, shelter, medicines, fuel and fun… but these products aren’t inexhaustible. CITES works every day for sustainability – not to take from nature more than nature is able to put back. We hope you will join us, wherever you are and whatever you do, as it will need all our efforts, to reverse this decline in biodiversity and set us on a different path… one where we work together to build a new relationship with nature and a new future for ourselves. 

UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen; On World Wildlife Day we mark 50 years of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora or CITES. 50 years of regulating international trade in endangered species. 50 years of conserving some of the planet’s most iconic treasures. And 50 years of demonstrating that international cooperation between and amongst countries can work. 

But we all know that we have a long way to travel. An estimated one million of the nearly eight million species on our planet face extinction due to what we do, our human activity. As we step up action to tackle the biodiversity crisis, partnerships for wildlife conservation – indeed the theme of World Wildlife Day – will be critical. Here, The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework provides an important basis on which to build these partnerships. So as we need to strengthen partnerships with indigenous peoples and local communities so that they are not just participating, but are leading, deciding and showing the way forward. Because lets face it indigenous people know more about conservation than many a scientist does. 

UNEP is proud of our work with the collaborative partnership for sustainable wildlife management – together with the Secretariat of CITES, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on Migratory Species and other international organizations – that work on these issues, so that together we can promote the sustainable, legal, and safe use of biodiversity. This World Wildlife Day let’s commit to forging a closer partnership with nature. Because our future, and that of all species on this beautiful Earth, depends on it.


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