Message from UNEP/CMS Executive Secretary Bradnee Chambers

The theme for World Wildlife Day 2017 is ‘Listen to the Young Voices.’ I think engaging with young people today is essential if we are to find solutions for environmental problems. Personally, I developed a passion for nature during my youth growing up in rural Ontario at a year-round outdoor education camp that provided experiences to children and families from the city. It inspired me to pursue a career in international law, bringing countries together to protect the environment.

At the United Nations, I work hard to protect migratory species. I want to ensure that future generations can still witness the world’s great migrations, from those of the animals that roam the plains of the African savannah and the swimways of marine turtles to the Monarch Butterfly and the characteristic v-shaped formation of birds in flight.

We need to think seriously about conserving species for generations to come. The Convention on Migratory Species will be convening its 12th Conference of the Parties in October 2017 in Manila, the Philippines. Related to this year's World Wildlife Day, the CMS COP theme is 'Their Future is Our Future: Sustainable Development for Wildlife and People’.

The Convention on Migratory Species is an inter-governmental treaty that coordinates global action for the conservation of the world’s migratory wildlife. Our 12th Conference of the Parties will be key in showcasing the role of migratory species within the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Migratory species are an integral part of the world's fauna, but also some of the most threatened by climate change, pollution, habitat loss and wildlife crime such as illegal trade and poaching.

Together, we need to fight these threats and we need your help! Young or old, we can all make a difference. We must take young people’s ideas seriously and encourage them to stay committed to tackling the environmental problems of our time. Their passion and idealism are essential to implementing sound conservation strategies so that wildlife and humans can coexist on the same planet.

We should work together to forge a more sustainable future – Their Future is Our Future.