UN World Wildlife Day 2016 – the future of wildlife is in our hands

Mar 1, 2016

Young elephants interact in the evening sun. Photo: UNDP

WHAT:   3 March 2016 marks the third UN World Wildlife Day. This year’s main theme is “The future of wildlife is in our hands”, with a sub-theme of “The future of elephants is in our hands”. To mark the day, the United Nations, Gabon, Germany, and Thailand are co-hosting a high-level panel discussion on international wildlife crime, in collaboration with civil society partners. The event will focus on front line challenges, progress, and new initiatives to stop the illegal wildlife trade. Media are invited. 

Illicit trafficking in wildlife has a devastating impact on many vulnerable species, but its impacts go much further. The illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is among the five most lucrative illegal trades globally, worth up to an estimated 20 billion USD annually. It has negative impacts on human security, economic development, environmental integrity, and community well-being. It fuels conflict, weakens rule of law, and feeds large-scale corruption, often linked to organized crime; and it undermines poverty eradication efforts, and diminishes livelihoods.

The event will be used to showcase:

• Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) update on trends of illegal killing of elephants in 2015 to be released on 3 March;

• Launch of a One UN Campaign on IWT;

• Announcement of winners of the first International Elephant Film Festival,

• A new EU action plan on combating wildlife trafficking;

• Celebrity advocacy by Gisele Bündchen, Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and other personalities.


- Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General, on behalf of the UN Secretary-General

- John Scanlon, Secretary-General, CITES, and Event Moderator

- H.E. Mr. Virachai Plasai, Ambassador of Thailand to the UN, on behalf of the Co-Hosts

- Elliott Harris, Assistant Secretary-General, Director, NY Office, UNEP

- Simone Monasebian, Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) NY Office, on     behalf of UNODC Executive Director

- Video Statement, Karmenu Vella, EC Commissioner, Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

- HE Mr. Heiko Thoms, Ambassador, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of Germany to the UN

- Robert Dreher, Associate Director, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

- Nik Sekhran, Chief of Practice & Director, Sustainable Development Cluster, Bureau of Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

- John Robinson, Executive Vice President, Conservation and Science, WCS

- Tania Paratian, Manager Intergovernmental Relations, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)    International

- Gisele Bündchen, UNEP Goodwill Ambassador 

WHEN: Thursday, 3 March, 11:30 a.m. – 13:30 p.m. 

WHERE: United Nations, ECOSOC Chamber, New York 

Please note:  The event is open to media accredited by the UN Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit.  To register, please contact Eva Gurria eva.gurria@undp.org.

Main hashtags: #WWD2016; #InOurHands; #WorldWildlifeDay 

Main Twitter accounts: @WildlifeDay; @CITES; @UNEP; @UNDP; @UNODC; @WWF 

Trello board with updated materials: http://bit.ly/1PU7xXw

Website: http://www.wildlifeday.org/ 

Thunderclap: http://thndr.me/ZmaErE


Contact information

Liu Yuan, yuan.liu@cites.org, +41 79 652 0108+41 79 652 0108

Sangita Khadka, sangita.khadka@undp.org, +1-212-906-5043+1-212-906-5043

Laura Fuller, Laura.Fuller@unep.org, +1 202-974-1305+1 202-974-1305
Shereen Zorba, shereen.zorba@unep.org , + 254 788 526 000

Valerie Prassl, valerie.prassl@unodc.org +43 1 26060 4709+43 1 26060 4709

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