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World Wildlife Day 2023


March 3 is known as World Wildlife Day (WWD), marked annually to draw attention to issues of conservation of flora and fauna.


GS II- Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About World Wildlife Day
  2. What is the CITES?

About World Wildlife Day

  • The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on December 20, 2013, at its 68th session, proclaimed March 3, as World Wildlife Day.
  • This day is significant, as on this occasion, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed on 3 March 1973.
  • World Wildlife Day has become one of the most important global annual events dedicated to wildlife.
  • Theme 2023 – ‘Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation’. It will allow us to celebrate all conservation efforts, from intergovernmental to local scale.”
Significance of World wildlife day
  • A symbiotic relationship exists between the forest, forest-dwelling wildlife species, ecosystem services and people, especially the indigenous people.
  • The indigenous forest dwellers, people at present, manage around 28%  of the forest land.
  • Biodiversity loss is an existential threat to human beings on the planet. 
  • The continued loss of wildlife species threatens to undermine entire ecosystems and puts into peril the well-being of all who rely on them. 
  • Yet, this is not inevitable: we have the power to change course and restore threatened species and their habitats. 
  • It can inspire collective action towards conservation, reversing the fate of key species of animals and plants.
  •  It can help chart a path towards a sustainable future, to live in harmony with nature. 
  • It acknowledges the need for collective political will and global leadership to adopt a robust post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and secure the common future.

What is the CITES?

  • CITES is an international agreement between governments.
  • Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.
  • Its website states it was agreed upon with the recognition that “The trade in wild animals and plants crosses borders between countries, the effort to regulate it requires international cooperation to safeguard certain species from over-exploitation.”
  • It accords varying degrees of protection to more than 37,000 species of animals and plants, ranging from live animals and plants to wildlife products derived from them, including food products, exotic leather goods, medicines, etc.
  • Currently, there are 184 parties to the convention, including India. The CITES Secretariat is administered by UNEP (The United Nations Environment Programme) and is located in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • The Conference of the Parties to CITES is the supreme consensus-based decision-making body of the Convention and comprises all its parties.
  • In India, apart from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is a statutory body under the Ministry that is especially meant to combat organised wildlife crime in the country.
  • It assists and advises the customs authorities in the inspection of the consignments of flora and fauna as per the provisions of the Wild Life Protection Act of 1972, CITES and the export and import policy governing items.
How does CITES work?
  • The species covered under CITES are listed in three Appendices, according to the degree of protection they need.
  • Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted rarely, only in “exceptional circumstances”, such as gorillas, and lions from India.
  • Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled to ensure their survival. For example, certain kinds of foxes and Hippopotamuses.
  • Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade, like the Bengal fox or the Golden Jackal from India. Different procedures are given category-wise to engage in the trade of species in each of the lists.

-Source: Indian Express

February 2024