The first UN World Wildlife Day Secretary-General’s Message for 2015 The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 3 March – the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – as World Wildlife Day. On this second observance of the Day, the UN system, its Member States and a wide range of partners from around the world are highlighting the simple yet firm message that “It’s time to get serious about wildlife crime”. Illegal trade in wildlife has become a sophisticated transnational form of crime, comparable to other pernicious examples, such as trafficking of drugs, humans, counterfeit items and oil. It is driven by rising demand, and is often facilitated by corruption and weak governance. There is strong evidence of the increased involvement of organized crime networks and non-State armed groups. 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. Getting serious about wildlife crime means enrolling the support of all sections of society involved in the production and consumption of wildlife products, which are widely used as medicines, food, building materials, furniture, cosmetics, clothing and accessories. Law enforcement efforts must be supported by the wider community. Businesses and the general public in all countries can play a major role by, for example, refusing to buy or auction illegal ivory and rhinoceros horn, and insisting that products from the world’s oceans and tropical forests have been legally obtained and sustainably sourced. On this World Wildlife Day, I urge all consumers, suppliers and governments to treat crimes against wildlife as a threat to our sustainable future. It’s time to get serious about wildlife crime. ~ Ban Ki-moon A new Sea Shepherd legal team was officially launched on World Wildlife Day 2015 and intends to fulfill UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s World Wildlife Day message: “It is time to get serious about wildlife crime.” “Over-harvested and under-protected, our oceans are dying”, says Sea Shepherd. “Scores of marine wildlife species are at risk of extinction and marine ecosystems are in grave danger of total collapse…” Learn more First UN World Wildlife Day – March 3! A thought from the Environmental Investigation Agency: Just a brief reminder that next Monday, March 3, sees the first UN World Wildlife Day. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Secretary General John Scanlon has called the event an “opportunity for all of us – no matter who we are or where we are – to celebrate the beauty and variety of the millions of plants and animals that we share our planet with.” He’s right, and it’s important to take a moment (ideally as often as they present themselves) to ponder on just how precious and unique our natural environment is. But just as importantly, there are many people who need reminding of just how much pressure is being felt by our environment and so many of the species with which we share it. Why not make the first UN World Wildlife Day more than just another annotation on the calendar by putting in the time for a little activism? As well as sharing pictures of favourite species, you could use the opportunity to spread word to friends and family, in conversation or online, of some of the creatures and habitats in crisis, and which urgently need human intervention of the right kind. UN.org “On 20 December 2013, the Sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly decided to proclaim 3 March as World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. The date is the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973, which plays an important role in ensuring that international trade does not threaten the species’ survival.” If the UN World Wildlife Day achieves nothing more than raising awareness and recruiting new people to the fight, then it’s still achieved plenty.