The countdown to the world’s annual celebration of wildlife is on. The United Nations World Wildlife Day (WWD) is just over a month away and today saw the relaunch of www.wildlifeday.org with information on the events planned for this year, the history behind WWD and a guide to help you get the most out of the day, wherever you are.
World Wildlife Day was set up by the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. The date of 3 March was chosen to commemorate the signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which took place on 3 March 1973. It also designated the CITES Secretariat as the facilitator for the global observance of this special day.
The theme for WWD 2023, ‘Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation’ is particularly significant as it recognizes – in the 50th Anniversary year of CITES – the important role that CITES has played in building partnerships for wildlife conservation and that the success of the Convention has also been due to the strength and breadth of those partnerships.
The WWD website has video messages of support and congratulations to the Convention from distinguished figures such as the President of the United Nations General Assembly, the World Bank, the UN Special Envoy for Oceans, Interpol and others. The CITES Secretary-General, Ivonne Higuero, has recorded a special message – in English, French and Spanish.
The site also has information about the main event for the day, which will take place back in the birthplace of CITES, Washington DC. The event, co-organised by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with partners, will feature stories from across the globe that highlight partnerships that have had, or are having, an impact on wildlife conservation. It’s taking place at National Geographic’s Grosvenor Auditorium and will be livestreamed, via the World Wildlife Day YouTube channel, starting at 10:00 am Eastern Standard Time on 3 March 2023.
Www.wildlifeday.org is live now. There is space to list any events that you may be planning and we’d welcome any feedback and video messages, either wishing CITES a ‘Happy 50th’ or telling us what you’ll be doing to celebrate this World Wildlife Day 2023. The aim is to give as many people as possible the chance to be involved in this global celebration and help us achieve the CITES wildlife conservation goals that are so vital for the planet’s biodiversity.