“Forests and livelihoods: sustaining people and planet” announced as theme of World Wildlife Day 2021
Geneva, 23 November 2020 – The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) announced today the theme of United Nations World Wildlife Day 2021: “Forests and livelihoods: sustaining people and planet”.
Covering nearly a third of the planet’s land surface, forests and woodlands are key pillars of human livelihoods and well-being.
Over 800 million people live in tropical forests and savannahs in developing countries. Indigenous and rural communities have a particularly close relationship with these natural systems. They rely on them to meet their essential needs, from food and shelter to energy and medicines, but they also maintain a strong personal, cultural and spiritual relationship with these environments. Indigenous peoples and local communities are also historic custodians of the planet’s most important reservoirs of biodiversity, including forests.
The ecosystem services and resources forests and woodlands provide, from filtering and storing freshwater to ensuring the fertility of soils or to regulating the climate, are essential to the global economy and to people everywhere. Yet forests are now at the crossroads of the multiple planetary crises we currently face, from climate change, to biodiversity loss and the social and economic impacts of the current global pandemic.
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 forest ecosystems in all World Wildlife Day events and celebrations;
associate the celebrations with major national and international conservation events;
build collaborative partnerships.