UN World Wildlife Day highlights wild fauna, flora and biodiversity in film competition

Updated on 12 January 2021
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UN World Wildlife Day highlights wild fauna, flora and biodiversity in film competition

Winners of the 2020 World Wildlife Day Film Showcase announced at UN Headquarters

Geneva/Jackson Hole, WY/Montreal/Nairobi/New York, 3 March 2020 – The CITES Secretariat, Jackson Wild™, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) announced today the winners of the 2020 World Wildlife Day Film Showcase.

The 10 laureates were picked from 35 finalists, out of a total 345 entries in eight categories. They were unveiled during the high-level event marking the World Wildlife Day celebrations at the UN Headquarters in New York, in the presence of representatives of UN Member States, UN System organizations, major civil society groups and local students.

The planet’s diverse wildlife is a particularly resonant element of the world’s biological diversity. Humanity has always relied on the interactions of all these components of the biosphere for our needs, from the very air we breathe to all the materials necessary for our livelihoods. However, we are currently facing an accelerating biodiversity loss as species across the world are facing extinction precisely because of our unregulated, unsustainable overexploitation of their kind, their habitats, and of the entire ecosystems on which they rely.

The Film Showcase for this year’s World Wildlife Day highlights both the threats posed by global biodiversity loss and the opportunities in bending the curve of this alarming trend. The intent was also to show the immense value and benefits of a thriving, diverse wildlife for humanity, as well as the initiatives and efforts that are already underway to conserve it and create a more balanced relationship between humans and the rest of the biosphere.

CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said: "All 10 laureates of this year’s Film Showcase have captured powerful stories that highlight a wide range of interactions between humans and wildlife around the world. As we witness a grave crisis of biodiversity loss, it is important that we stress the value of wild fauna and flora for the planet’s biological diversity, as well as the many ways in which humans benefit from and rely on wildlife. These films will help us do that throughout the remainder of this ‘super year’ for biodiversity, as we seek to bolster efforts to conserve and sustainably use wildlife and biodiversity. We thank all laureates for their work, and we look forward to seeing them broadcast around the world."

Jackson Wild™ Executive Director Lisa Samford added: "It is no longer sufficient to simply raise public awareness about biodiversity loss. Media must ignite tangible action to protect and restore our planet and its diverse wildlife. We're extremely proud of the World Wildlife Day Film Showcase winners because these films go beyond amplifying reasons to care and inspiring awe for our fragile, but resilient planet. They empower the radical changes that will be required to save humanity from ourselves."

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) said: "Congratulations to the laureates and to all who participated in the 2020 World Wildlife Day Film Showcase. Your wonderful work serves to highlight the importance of effectively addressing some of the most critical environmental issues presently affecting us and our planet. On this World Wildlife Day, I call on everyone to find inspiration in these breathtaking films and #DoOneThingToday to help conserve and sustainably use the biodiversity around you."

Winners of the 2020 World Wildlife Day Film Showcase in the 8 categories are:

Science, Innovation and Exploration:

Nature: The Serengeti Rules
A Production of HHMI Tangled Bank Studios and Passion Planet in association with Sandbox Films, Thirteen Productions, LLC and WNET

Issues and Solutions

Local Hero, Participant Media, Terra Mater Factual Studios for Animal Planet

People and Wild Species

Grasslands - North America’s Hidden Wilderness
A River Road Films production in association with CBC and Terra Mater Factual Studios

Stories of Hope

Silent Forests
House Tiger Productions

Global Voices

Mundiya Kepanga, The Voice of the Forest
Muriel Barra/ LatoSensu productions

Web of Life:

The Elephant Queen
An Apple Original and A Deeble, Stone and Oliff Production


How to Save Our Planet
Silverback Films

Last Wild Places: Gorongosa
National Geographic Society


A @tommustill Film for Gripping Films, Greta Thunberg and writer/climate activist George Monbiot with support from Conservation International, Nature4Climate, The Food and Land Use Coalition and Gower Street

Ocean Farmer
Silverback Films, Netflix, WWF UK

Winners and finalists will see their entries showcased extensively in order to raise awareness of the current challenges facing the planet's wildlife and biodiversity. Throughout 2020, which has been dubbed the 'biodiversity super year', their films will be screened at many of the planned high-level events which will discuss the state of the world's biological diversity, biodiversity loss and sustainable use as key topics of the global sustainable development agenda. They will also be shown around the world to students and communities in the hopes they might inspire them to take action to conserve the world’s biological diversity, including its wild fauna and flora, their habitats and ecosystems.

For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact:

CITES Secretariat: Francisco Pérez, +41 22 917 1447, [email protected]

United Nations Environment Programme, Keisha Rukikaire, +254 722 677747, [email protected]

United Nations Development Programme, Sangita Khadka, +212906 5043, [email protected]

Jackson Wild: Abbey Greene, +1 307 200 3286, [email protected]

About the United Nations Environment Programme (UNDP):

The United Nations Development Programme (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 more than 170 countries and territories, UNDP offers global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. www.undp.org.

About the United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP):

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

About the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD):

Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and entering into force in December 1993, the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty for the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources. With 196 Parties, the Convention has near universal participation among countries.  The Convention seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including threats from climate change, through scientific assessments, the development of tools, incentives and processes, the transfer of technologies and good practices and the full and active involvement of relevant stakeholders including indigenous and local communities, youth, NGOs, women and the business community.

About CITES:

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 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 to national economies for a healthy planet and the prosperity of the people in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals.

About Jackson Wild™:

For 25+ years, Jackson Wild™ has convened filmmakers, conservationists and innovators who share this urgency of purpose. Media serves to engage public audiences as well as core influencers and policy-makers with important on-the-ground science and conservation efforts to save our planet while the window of opportunity still exists. In the final week of September, filmmakers, conservationists and innovators will gather in the inspiring landscape of Neusiedler See - Seewinkel National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to deeply engage on the critical issues facing our planet. It’s an extraordinary convening where collaboration and innovation thrive, ideas are launched, and strategic partnerships are forged.

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.