Geneva, 15 November 2021 - According to figures by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, over 8,400 species of wild fauna and flora are critically endangered, while close to 30,000 more are understood to be endangered or vulnerable. Based on these estimates, it is suggested that over a million species are threatened with extinction.
Continued loss of species and degradation of habitats and ecosystems threatens humanity as a whole, as people everywhere rely on wildlife and biodiversity-based resources to meet all their needs, from food, medicines and health to fuel, housing, and clothing.
The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) announced today the theme of the United Nations World Wildlife Day 2022: "Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration". Leading up to the year when the post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework is expected to be adopted, drawing attention to the status of some of the most critically endangered species of wild fauna and flora and their role in ecosystems will send a powerful message for urgent commitment. The theme will also highlight the impact of conservation efforts and promote best practice examples where species were brought back from the brink, and it will drive discussions towards imagining and implementing new solutions to conserve and sustainably use others.
CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said: "Biodiversity loss is an existential threat to people and planet. The continued loss of wildlife species threatens to undermine entire ecosystems and puts into peril the well-being of all who rely on them. Yet, this is not inevitable: we have the power to change course and restore threatened species and their habitats. With the theme of “Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration”, we wish to inspire action towards reversing the fate of key species of animals and plants. It is our hope that World Wildlife Day will help chart a path towards a sustainable future, with the goal of living in harmony with nature. Ultimately, we hope to spur on the needed political will to adopt a robust post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and secure our common future."
The Day also aims to support all ongoing efforts towards the accomplishment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular Goals 1 (No Poverty), 2 (Zero hunger) 12 (Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns), 13 (Climate Action) 14 (Life Below Water) and 15 (Life on Land) as biodiversity and healthy ecosystems are a foundation for sustainable development.
The CITES Secretariat, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and other UN system organizations, Member States, biodiversity-related conventions, and private sector and civil society actors, are unrolling a series of global online activities around World Wildlife Day 2022.
This includes a high-level online event on 3 March 2022, a film showcase organized with Jackson Wild and UNDP, and an international youth art competition organized with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
In line with the UN General Assembly Resolution proclaiming World Wildlife Day, the CITES Secretariat calls on all member States and organizations of the United Nations system and other global, regional and sub-regional organizations, non-governmental organizations and all interested individuals, to:
- observe and raise awareness of the theme for World Wildlife Day 2021;
- involve indigenous peoples and rural and local communities with experience and knowledge in the use and conservation of vulnerable species and ecosystems in all World Wildlife Day events and celebrations;
- associate the celebrations with major national and international conservation events;
- build collaborative partnerships;
- make use of the World Wildlife Day logos as widely as possible.