NEW YORK, New York, December 27, 2013 (ENS) – The United Nations General Assembly is honoring wild animals and plants, particularly endangered and protected species, by designating March 3 as World Wildlife Day.

In a resolution adopted December 20, the 193-member General Assembly selected March 3 because that is the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CITES, an international treaty that aims to ensure global trade does not threaten the survival of listed species.

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Elephant herd drinks water in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. (Photo by Clive Reid)

The General Assembly reaffirmed the intrinsic value of wildlife and its contributions, including “ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic,” contributions, to “sustainable development and human well-being.

The new resolution designating World Wildlife Day follows the General Assembly resolution of December 20, 2012, in which member governments expressed deep concern about environmental crimes, including trafficking in endangered and protected species of wild animals and plants, and emphasized the need to combat such crimes by strengthening international cooperation, capacity-building, criminal justice responses and law enforcement efforts.

CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon helped to bring the resolution creating the special day to the General Assembly, and the CITES Secretariat, in collaboration with UN agencies, will implement World Wildlife Day.

“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,” said Scanlon. “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,” he said.

In its resolution, the UN General Assembly noted another resolution made at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES held in Bangkok from March 3 to 14. Sponsored by the Kingdom of Thailand, the CITES resolution designated March 3 as World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.

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

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2013. All rights reserved.

 

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