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World Wildlife Day 2015 – It’s Time to get serious about wildlife crime
UN General Assembly Marks the Day with Special Session

The Second World Wildlife Day, themed “It’s time to get serious about wildlife crime” was observed around the world on Tuesday 3rd March.


The third of March was also the day of adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973. The CITES secretariat facilitated the WWD celebrations around the world.


On this occasion, President of the General Assembly Sam Kahamba Kutesa, hosted a special World Wildlife Day Commemorative session, where Member States, the global community and initiatives such as the Clinton foundation examined the challenges to and opportunities for stepping up international efforts to combat wildlife crime at a global scale.


Once an emerging threat, wildlife and forest crime today has transformed into one of the largest transnational organized criminal activities, alongside drug trafficking, arms, and trafficking in human beings. Beyond immediate environmental impacts, the illegal trade in natural resources is depriving developing economies of billions of dollars in lost revenues. The third of March was also the day of adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973. The CITES secretariat coordinated the WWD celebrations around the world.


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted in his statement for the day that: “Illegal wildlife trade undermines the rule of law and threatens national security; it degrades ecosystems and is a major obstacle to the efforts of rural communities and indigenous peoples striving to sustainably manage their natural resources. Combatting this crime is not only essential for conservation efforts and sustainable development, it will contribute to achieving peace and security in troubled regions where conflicts are fuelled by these illegal activities.”


World Wildlife Day was marked by events around the world. In addition to the UN General Assembly session, attended by Ms. Chelsea Clinton, a colloquium ‘Wild and precious: Conservation in the 21st Century’ was organized at the Press Room of the Geneva Airport.


In New York, the WCS Central Park Zoo featured a high-level expert panel discussion on the links between wildlife trafficking, organized crime and sustainable development, moderated by ABC Nightline host Dan Harris.


Other observances are being held around the world, including: Cairo (AMCEM meeting), Kruger National Park (South Africa), Lima, Nairobi, Seoul, Vienna, and at the Berlin Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB).


Two Spix’s macaws, the bird portrayed in the animation "Rio" by the friendly character “Blue”, arrived in Sao Paulo, Brazil, that day as part of a programme to return this species to the original Brazilian habitat.


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