Today, at the occasion of the World Wildlife Day, the International Plant Protection (IPPC) community joins global celebrations of the world’s wild plants and animals in their varied forms. This year’s celebration falls during the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) 2020, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to increase awareness of the importance of healthy plants of all kinds.
Conserving wildlife on earth means conserving the world’s biodiversity. Hence, protecting wildlife of animals and plants is fundamental for reaching the United Nations 2030 Agenda and many of its Sustainable Development Goals.
Our generation is experiencing a global decline of nature at an unprecedented rate in human history. As ecosystems, species and varieties of plants and animals are shrinking, deteriorating or vanishing, we are eroding the very foundations of our economies, food systems, and life.
When it comes to plants, they are increasingly under threat by pests and diseases, which cause up to 40% of crop losses annually, and over USD 200 billion in economic loss in trade of plants and plant products.
The world’s biodiversity is at risk, with almost a quarter of all species presently at risk of going extinct in the coming decades. According to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the five direct drivers of change in nature are changes in land and sea use, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution, and invasive alien species.
The IPPC community has been working with the Convention on Biological Diversity and other biodiversity-related conventions to address the threat posed by plant pests and diseases, which are invasive alien species, to ensure plant health and protect our environment.
I welcome the efforts of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in ensuring that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. As another biodiversity-related convention, the IPPC aims at protecting world’s plants from pests while facilitating safe trade.
In fact, plants are the basis for life on the earth, making up most of the food we eat and the oxygen we breathe. The trade of plants and plant products is often the main source of income for many countries largely depending upon agriculture. Thus, plants are the most important pillar for humankind’s survival and development, directly contributing to food security, nutrition, and economic growth.
The increasing threats faced by nature, including wildlife call for urgent actions by governments, civil society, private sector actors and individuals to help conserve wildlife and ensure its continued and sustainable use.
Let’s work together hand-in-hand to protect wildlife in all its forms.