High-level representatives from UN member states and international organizations gathered today at the United Nations Headquarters to celebrate the UN World Wildlife Day under the theme ‘Life below water: for people and planet.’
The benefits of marine and coastal resources are enormous. Over 3 billion people depend on these resources for their livelihoods globally. The market value of marine and coastal resources and related industries is estimated at US$3 trillion per year, about 5% of global GDP.
Alarmingly, despite its critical importance, life below water faces many threats, amongst them an area of primary concern for CITES, which is their unsustainable exploitation for international trade. Over 30% of commercially exploited marine fish stocks are overfished.
Jointly organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the event was attended by senior government officials, international organizations dealing with fisheries such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), conservation leaders, the private sector, celebrity advocates and youth representatives.
World Wildlife Day 2019, which falls on 3 March, focuses on marine species and aligns closely with the Sustainable Development Goal 14 – Life below water. It is an opportunity to raise awareness about the breathtaking diversity of marine wildlife, the benefits it brings to our everyday lives as well as ways to ensure that it can continue to do so for generations to come.