Message from Elizabeth Mrema, Acting Executive Secretary of CBD

Watch Ms. Mrema's video message here.

Today on World Wildlife Day we celebrate the amazing diversity of wild plants and animals found across the world.

This diversity makes our planet habitable for all species, including our own. From the food we eat to the medicines we need to the air we breathe, biodiversity provides incalculable benefits to all people and sustains livelihoods around the globe.

Yet wildlife and the ecosystems they depend on and maintain are in danger. Unsustainable and poorly managed human activities have put these valuable resources at risk, altering biodiversity and threatening the existence of many species.

The recent assessment report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) highlights the urgency of these challenges. One million plant and animal species - 25 per cent of all known species - are already threatened with extinction. Ecosystems have on average declined by 47 per cent. This jeopardizes the very existence of humans.

But while these numbers are grave, there is hope. We can still reverse the trend of biodiversity loss. This year, the world will come together to act for wildlife and bend the curve on biodiversity loss, as Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are expected to adopt an ambitious and transformative post-2020 global biodiversity framework at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China.

As governments negotiate the post-2020 framework, increasing the sustainability of wildlife use and management is a priority. In doing so, we must take on the challenge of ending unsustainable exploitation of resources, including wildlife and their ecosystems, while preserving the livelihoods of the communities that depend on them.

To ensure that wildlife continues sustaining all life on Earth, Parties to CBD agreed on a set of recommendations to improve the sustainability of wildlife used for food at the last UN Biodiversity Conference in Egypt. The Voluntary Guidance for a Sustainable Wild Meat Sector is to be put into practice by governments and organizations in the context of the post-2020 framework and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The stakes are high. We must strive to conserve and use biodiversity sustainably to ensure wildlife keeps sustaining all life. Everyone has a role to play. On this World Wildlife Day, let’s celebrate biodiversity by acting and advocating for wildlife and all life on Earth.