World Wildlife Day

World Wildlife day takes place annually on 3 March to raise awareness of the importance of the world’s wild fauna and flora, to educate the public and to raise public awareness concerning the intrinsic value, importance and contribution of the World’s wildlife towards ecological, health, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational, aesthetics and human well being

World Wildlife Day was first mooted On 20 December 2013, when, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3 March, World Wildlife Day To mark the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and 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.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, (CITES) also known as the Washington Convention) is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals. It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The convention was opened for signature in 1973 and CITES entered into force on 1 July 1975. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild, and it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants. In order to ensure that the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was not violated, the Secretariat of GATT was consulted during the drafting process. As of 2015, Secretary-General of the CITES Secretariat is John E. Scanlon.

The General Assembly took note of the outcome of the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, held in Bangkok from 3 to 14 March 2013, in particular Resolution Conf. 16.1 designating 3 March as World Wildlife Day, in order to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora, and recognized the important role of CITES in ensuring that international trade does not threaten the survival of species. 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. Previous Themes for World Wildlife Day have included “Big cats – predators under threat”, “Listen to the young voices”, “The future of wildlife”, “The future of elephants”and “dealing with wildlife crime”.