JOINT PRESS RELEASE
In support of World Wildlife Day 2020:
IFAW joins CITES and UNDP to sponsor Global Youth Art Contest
Geneva, New York, Washington, DC, 6 January 2020 – In celebration of World Wildlife Day 2020 held annually on March 3rd, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is hosting its second annual Global Youth Art Contest in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
In spite of existing global biodiversity targets, approximately 25% of species are currently threatened with extinction and natural ecosystems have declined by 47% on average. All of us working together urgently need to bend the curve of species and biodiversity loss before we reach the tipping points from which we may not recover, with dramatic consequences for all life on the planet.
Thematically, World Wildlife Day 2020 will be a highlight of what has been dubbed the ‘Biodiversity Super Year’. The Global Youth Art Contest will visualize the theme of “Sustaining All Life on Earth,”underlining the urgency for transformative change by all stakeholders, including government, civil society, private sector actors,and youth around the world.
Youth are the leaders of tomorrow. Children have a natural affinity for both animals and plants, as well as art, and they are more and more aware of the challenges facing the planet. It is critical that they be part of the solutions to the threats weighing on wild animals and plants, and biodiversity as a whole, as result of overexploitation of natural resources. Recent youth movements for climate action show they are also increasingly aware that they have a major part to play in such issues.
Building on the success of the first contest held last year, the second annual global youth art contest engages school-aged children and aims to build a sense of connection between youth, wildlife, and their ecosystems. This art contest encourages this fundamental form of expression to give the new generation a voice in one of the defining and most urgent causes of our time, while fostering an even stronger connection with the natural world.
For CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero, “Wildlife, which comprises species of both wild animals and plants, is an integral part of the world’s biological diversity and, for many developing countries in particular, critical for the improvement of human well-being. In the run-up to, and on World Wildlife Day 2020, we will raise further awareness of the multitude of benefits of wildlife to people, the interlinkages between the various components of biodiversity, and the threats they are facing. This art contest is an opportunity to engage youth to call on governments, civil society, the private sector, and individuals to take actions to help conserve wildlife and ensure sustainable use before it’s too late for them and future generations.”
Participants can submit their entries electronically through IFAW’s contest pagebetween January 6th, 2020 12:00 a.m. GMT and February 3rd, 2020 through 11:59 p.m. GMT. Thirteen semi-finalists will be chosen and the winning entry will be decided by a panel of judges by February 15, 2020. The grand prize winner will be announced at the World Wildlife Day ceremony held at the UN Headquarters in New York City on March 3rd.
Beth Allgood, US Country Office Director of IFAW states, “Consistent with IFAW’s approach focused on animals and people thriving together, the contest presents an opportunity to encourage youth engagement while highlighting the role that wildlife and biodiversity play in our day to day lives.We are excited to continue this immensely important collaboration through our global youth art contest around this critical theme of biodiversity. By increasing awareness of the essential role that biodiversity plays not only in the natural environment but in our own human livelihoods, we are hopeful that the global youth community will further come together as stewards of the natural world.”
"To halt biodiversity loss and maintain ecosystem services for current and future generations, we need young people to shake the world and mobilize society for large-scale behavioral change,” said UNDP Head of Biodiversity and Ecosystems, Midori Paxton. “The ideas and innovation of youth can transform behaviors of individuals, businesses, and our societies and economies in ways that advance nature-based solutions and accelerate progress across the Sustainable Development Goals.”
For additional details on contest rules and instructions, please click on IFAW’s contest page.
Note to journalists: For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact:
IFAW: Rodger Correa at +1 202 834 6637 or rcorrea [at] ifaw.org
CITES: Francisco Pérez at +41 22 917 1447 or francisco.perezgonzalez [at] un.org
UNDP: Sangita Khadka at +1 212 906 5043 or sangita.khadka [at] undp.org
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed in 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 36,000 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 national economy for a healthy planet and prosperity of the people in support to UN Sustainable Development Goals.
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in nearly 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.
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 ifaw.org.
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. The theme for the 2019 World Wildlife Day is: Life Below: For People and Planet.