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Geneva/New York/Washington DC, 18 December – In celebration of World Wildlife Day (WWD) 2021, celebrated each year on March 3rd, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), 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.
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.