Convening under the theme, 'It's time to get serious about wildlife crime,' this year's World Wildlife Day (WWD) was celebrated globally on 3 March 2015.
4 March 2015: Convening under the theme, ‘It’s time to get serious about wildlife crime,’ this year’s World Wildlife Day (WWD) was celebrated globally on 3 March 2015.
To mark the event, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Sam Kutesa hosted a special session on 4 March at UN Headquarters in New York, US to examine the challenges and opportunities of enhanced global efforts to combat wildlife crime. Kutesa told participants that, “We should do more to promote adequate national legislation, improve intelligence sharing and border controls, strengthen global, regional and national enforcement, improve capabilities to combat poaching and illegal trafficking, among other initiatives.” The session was opened by Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton and saw a presentation by Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) ambassador Nadya Hutagalung.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking on the Day, underscored that illegal wildlife trade undermines rule of law, degrades ecosystems and severely limits the efforts of rural communities striving to sustainably manage their natural resources.
Also to commemorate the Day, Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), John Scanlon, highlighted that what needs to be done to address wildlife crime is known, and that collaborative efforts will succeed. Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary, Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), emphasized that individuals can do more to make a difference by understanding the connection between increased poaching and organized criminal gangs.
Among many other highlights on 3 March, Kenya celebrated Africa Environment Day and Wangari Maathai Day, and burned 15 tonnes of contraband ivory. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) together with UNEP and CMS, released a report, titled ‘Towards Measuring the Economic Value of Wildlife Watching Tourism in Africa,’ which shows that wildlife watching tourism is one of the most important tourism segments to the continent. Meanwhile, the Collaborative Partnership on Wildlife (CPW) launched a ‘Bushmeat Sourcebook.’ In addition, a set of recommendations on engaging communities in combating the illegal wildlife trade at the source was issued at a workshop on ‘Beyond Enforcement: Communities, governance, incentives and sustainable use in combating wildlife crime,’ held in Muldersdrift, South Africa, just prior to WWD.
On 20 December 2013, the sixty-eighth session of the UN General Assembly proclaimed 3 March, which is the day that CITES was adopted, as World Wildlife Day. [UN Press Release on WWD] [UN Press Release on UNGA event] [UNEP Press Release on WWD] [UNEP Press Release on Wangari Maathai Day] [UNWTO Press Release] [CMS News] [UN GRASP News] [CITES Press Release on WWD] [CITES Statement at Enforcement Workshop] [CITES Statement at UNGA Event] [CIFOR Press Release] [Bushmeat Sourcebook] [FAO News] [FAO Newsletter on Non-Wood Forest Products]