In Celebration of World Wildlife Day 2021, IFAW Unites with CITES and UNDP for an International Youth Art Contest

Updated on 28 October 2022


partner logos youth art ifaw CITES UNDP

In Celebration of World Wildlife Day 2021, IFAW Unites with CITES and UNDP for an International Youth Art Contest


Geneva/New York/Washington DC, 18 December – In celebration of World Wildlife Day (WWD) 2021, celebrated each year on March 3rd, IFAW, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, is hosting its third annual global art contest in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the theme of ‘Forests and livelihoods: sustaining people and planet.

Between 240 and 350 million people live in or adjacent to forested areas globally, many of them members of indigenous peoples and local communities with long-standing cultural and social attachment to these environments. The traditional knowledge of these communities who have managed forest ecosystems and its wildlife for centuries, is critical to the conservation of the planet’s most important reservoirs of biodiversity.  

CITES designated World Wildlife Day 2021 to be focused on the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and rural and local communities. There are few ecosystems on Earth on which so many livelihoods depend, and therefore it is fitting that the interconnectedness of forest ecosystems, their species, and the countless people who live in or near them, will be recognized and celebrated.  

Building upon the success achieved from previous global youth art contests, the third annual contest engages school-aged children, encouraging a sense of connection between young artists and the diverse forest ecosystems that provide shelter, habitat and resources for both wildlife and people. Last year’s 2020 youth artist winner was 15-year old Tiarn Garland of Australia, with her work titled ‘Here today, but tomorrow?’ depicting a koala clinging to a lone branch as a not-so-distant bushfire ravages a forest in the background.

Tiarn Garland's winning entry for the 2020 WWD Youth Art Contest
‘Here today, but tomorrow?’, Tiarn Garland's winning entry to the 2020 contest.

This year’s contest is an opportunity to highlight multiple global environmental crises faced by forest ecosystems and the wildlife and humans within, from climate change to biodiversity loss. As children have an affinity for nature, animals, as well as art, the contest gives them a platform for expression while building an even stronger sense of connection with the natural world.

According to CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero, "The conservation of forests and forest-dwelling species of wild fauna and flora is essential to the well-being and livelihoods of many communities around the world. Engaging with children and young artists and fostering a deeper understanding of this crucial connection between humankind, forests and forest species, will go a long way in spreading the central message of this year’s World Wildlife Day. We look forward to seeing this year’s entries and how they help to reaffirm the undying interest of the younger generations for species and ecosystem conservation."

Danielle Kessler, Acting US Country Office Director of IFAW said, “We are thrilled to continue this important collaboration through our global youth art contest around this critical theme of forests and livelihoods. By increasing awareness of the essential role that such ecosystems play not only within the natural environment but as part of our own individual livelihoods, we are hopeful that the global youth community will further come together as stewards of the natural world, its abundant ecosystems, and diverse wildlife species.”

The first day to submit entries is December 18th, and participants can submit electronically through IFAW’s website through February 7th. Twelve semi-finalists and one separate grand prize winner will be chosen by a panel of expert judges by February 22nd. The grand prize winner will be announced as part of the official virtual event held on World Wildlife Day, March 3rd.  

For additional details on contest rules and instructions, please click here. To arrange interviews, please contact:

IFAW: Rodger Correa at +1 202 834 6637 or [email protected]
CITES: Francisco Pérez at +41 22 917 1447 or [email protected]
UNDP: Sangita Khadka at +1 212 906 5043 or [email protected]




About IFAW
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans, and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate, and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organizations, and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed on 3 March 1973 and entered into force on 1 July 1975. With 183 Parties (182 countries + the European Union), it remains one of the world's most powerful tools for wildlife conservation through the regulation of international trade in over 38,000 species of wild animals and plants. CITES-listed species are used by people around the world in their daily lives for food, health care, furniture, housing, tourist souvenirs, cosmetics or fashion. CITES seeks to ensure that international trade in such species is sustainable, legal and traceable and contributes to both the livelihoods of the communities that live closest to them and to national economies for a healthy planet and the prosperity of the people in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals.

About UNDP
UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet. Learn more at or follow at @UNDP.

About the United Nations World Wildlife Day
On 20 December 2013, the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 3 March as World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. The date is the day of the signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973. World Wildlife Day has quickly become the most prominent global annual event dedicated to wildlife. It is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the various challenges faced by these species. The day also reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.