Celebrating World Wildlife Day in Geneva and Beyond
World Wildlife Day, celebrated each year on 3 March, commemorates the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in 1973. The theme for 2023 is "Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation".
About World Wildlife Day
On 20 December 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3 March – the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973 – as UN World Wildlife Day.
World Wildlife Day celebrates the beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that their conservation provides to people. At the same time, World Wildlife Day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime and human-induced reduction of species, which have wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.
The UNGA resolution also designated the CITES Secretariat as the facilitator for the global observance of this special day for wildlife on the UN calendar. World Wildlife Day has now become the most important global annual event dedicated to wildlife.
World Wildlife Day 2023 will be held under the theme “Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation” to celebrate all conservation efforts, from intergovernmental to local scale. Within this theme, the day has a focus on two sub-topics:
- Marine life & oceans – with around 70% of our planet being covered by water, the impact of marine conservation is incredibly important.
- Business & finance – globally, conservation efforts need to be funded and this work needs to be done in collaboration with business – an area that, in the past, has been seen as exploitative and unsustainable. Successful partnerships for conservation must find ways of including business if we are to reverse the loss in biodiversity.
3 March 2023 is also a very special date, as it will also be marking the 50th anniversary of CITES. CITES has stood at the junction of trade and conservation, with Parties to the Convention working with the shared goal of ensuring sustainability of endangered species. CITES has sought to build partnerships and reconcile differences between the groups that are guided and governed by its regulations. At national and local levels, these partnerships have been essential in every country across the globe to focus on the conservation of species and ecosystems.
This year’s theme will provide the opportunity to highlight the people who are making a difference as well as to celebrate the bridge that CITES has been for these partnerships to form, making a significant contribution to sustainability, wildlife and biodiversity conservation.
Partnerships for Conservation are vital, as no organisation, and that includes the UN, can tackle the biodiversity crisis on their own. We have a million species that are threatened with extinction, and it will need all our combined efforts to reverse this. Partnerships bring together people or groups with different levels of experience and expertise, to come up with new ideas and the goal of having impact.
— CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero
Celebrate World Wildlife Day in Geneva
Geneva World Wildlife Day Celebration | 50 Years of Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation and Sustainability
3 March 2023 | 12:00 CET | Conservatory and Botanical Garden
Listed here are several resources on the collaborative work International Geneva does to protect wildlife.
- UNCTAD | Promoting sustainable livelihoods and conservation of marine biodiversity in the Caribbean region
- Origins and Evolution of World Wildlife Day: Global Celebration of Wildlife | John Scanlon | IISD | 1 March 2023
This article is the final in a series of seven articles on CITES at 50 published by the IISD, the other six being; on compliance, with Professor Christina Voigt; African elephants, with Jonathan Barzdo and Greta Flori; enforcement, with Robert Zoellick; voting and reservations, with Jinfeng Zhou; wildlife-related pandemics, with Dan Ashe and Sharon Deem; and shark listings, with Daniel Kachelriess.
Yearly Themes and Activities
Since 2014, the international community has been celebrating World Wildlife Day with a different theme selected for each year. Find more information for each year below:
- 2023 | Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation
- 2022 | Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration
- 2021 | Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet
- 2020 | Sustaining all life on Earth
- 2019 | Life below water: for people and planet
- 2018 | Big cats: predators under threat
- 2017 | Listen to the young voices
- 2016 | The future of wildlife is in our hands
- 2015 | It’s time to get serious about wildlife crime
- 2014 | First Celebration
UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
Launched on World Environment Day 2021, the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is a rallying call for the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature. The UN Decade runs from 2021 through 2030, which is also the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals and the timeline scientists have identified as the last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change. It aims to halt the degradation of ecosystems, and restore them to achieve global goals. Only with healthy ecosystems can we enhance people’s livelihoods, counteract climate change, and stop the collapse of biodiversity.
Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN Decade is building a strong, broad-based global movement to ramp up restoration and put the world on track for a sustainable future. That will include building political momentum for restoration as well as thousands of initiatives on the ground. With its focus on ecosystem restoration, World Wildlife Day 2022 is part of the global movement of the Decade and will contribute to harnessing efforts to restore ecosystems all around the world.
Role of Geneva
Geneva and its surrounding area host important international organizations working on wildlife and forests.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
CITES is an international agreement between governments. Because 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. CITES was conceived in the spirit of such cooperation with the aim to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 37,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
IUCN is a membership Union composed of both government and civil society organisations. It harnesses the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,400 Member organisations and the input of more than 18,000 experts. This diversity and vast expertise makes IUCN the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. IUCN hosts the Red List of Threatened Species, the Red List of Ecosystems and the Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas. Additionally, ecosystem restoration has been identified as one of the priority areas of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM).
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
As part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, UNECE is collaborating with the FAO to support countries in the UNECE region to restore degraded forest landscapes, work directly with cities to protect, maintain and restore forest ecosystems in and around urban areas, and foster the international exchange of knowledge and best practices on the management and protection of forests in the boreal zone.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – Europe Office
The UNEP Europe Office provides guidance to national governments at various levels, and to take part in the dialogue on environmental issues between governmental authorities, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders. This includes projects to strengthen ecosystem management, for the benefit of people and biodiversity. The Europe Office in Geneva also hosts the Tehran Convention, a framework designed to protect the marine environment of the Caspian Sea.
United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD)
The UN-REDD Programme was launched in 2008 and builds on the convening role and technical expertise of the FAO, UNDP and UNEP. The Programme supports nationally led REDD+ processes and promotes the informed and meaningful involvement of all stakeholders, including indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities, in national and international REDD+ implementation. Additionally, the programme supports national REDD+ readiness efforts in 65 partner countries, spanning Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
In 1996, UNCTAD launched the BioTrade Initiative to support the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity. BioTrade refers to those activities of collection, production, transformation, and commercialization of goods and services derived from native biodiversity under the criteria of environmental, social and economic sustainability. The seven principles address issues such as conservation, restoration and sustainable use of biodiversity, equitable sharing of the benefits of BioTrade between different actors, and respect for the rights of indigenous people and local communities.
WWF is an independent conservation organization active in nearly 100 countries to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and wildlife. Working with many others – from individuals and communities to business and government – WWF urgently seeks to protect and restore natural habitats, stop the mass extinction of wildlife, and make the way we produce and consume sustainable.
World Economic Forum
WEF is leading the Nature Action Agenda (NAA) is a multi-sector movement catalyzing economic action to halt biodiversity loss by 2030 and enable humans to live in harmony with nature. It aims to build business and policy action by building a knowledge base, catalyzing leadership, scaling solutions, and supporting an enabling environment by ensuring implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
Earthworm Foundation, formerly known as The Forest Trust, works to preserve forests and oceans, while empowering the people that care for our lands and produce our everyday needs. Their projects contribute to a world where forests are a boundless source of materials and a home for biodiversity; communities see their rights respected and have opportunities to develop; workers are seen as productive partners; and agriculture becomes the instrument to feed a hungry planet and keep our climate stable.
State of Geneva
Geneva is active in protecting biodiversity, which faces significant pressure due to urbanization and high human population density. Geneva’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity highlights the need to promote biodiversity at every scale, from land-use planning to concrete achievements in neighborhoods or gardens. The State has also established several protected areas, covering 2,7% of its territory, and is developing various restoration projects for rivers and lake banks. In regard to the Swiss context, significant success could be achieved for the local biodiversity thanks to the active collaboration of the local agriculture actors. Geneva has also published a campaign called CATS OUTDOORS to raise awareness on the threats posed by domestic cats in an attempt to recover a local key species, the European wild cat.
Conservatory and Botanical Garden
Occupying roughly 28 hectares, the city of Geneva’s Conservatory and Botanical Garden is the largest public botanical garden in Switzerland. With a six-fold mission of exploration, conservation, research, transmission of knowledge, protection, and cooperation, the botanical garden is home to a living collection of more than 15,000 species of wild or cultivated flora, which includes a variety of CITES protected species, and a herbarium of nearly 6 million botanical specimens.
Faune Genève is a non-profit association aiming at protecting and raising awareness of the fauna of Geneva. Its website is an official platform for naturalists and wildlife observers in the region.
La Libellule is a non-profit association raising public environmental awareness through field activities, mainly in the Geneva region.
The Bioparc works for the conservation of local and exotic animal species by participating in conservation programs, providing environmental awareness and education on wildlife, developing a recognized animal-assisted intervention center, and collaborating in research. It is home to more than 250 animals, a third of which are threatened of extinction. The Bioparc is part of the Action Plan for Biodiversity of the State of Geneva.
Pro Natura is the oldest nature preservation organization in Switzerland, with several protected sites with important wildlife such as the Centre Nature Vallon de l’Allondon and the Centre Nature de la Pointe à la Bise in Geneva.
WWF Geneva works to implement projects in support of biodiversity, which includes a Panda Club that organizes outings and activities for young people on environmental issues.
Dans Ma Nature
The platform dansmaNature.ch aims to increase public awareness of biodiversity. A collaborative work by the Canton of Geneva and local associations and institutions, the platform brings together all the activities organized in Geneva, including excursions and nature-friendly outings.
Past GEN Events
The Geneva Environment Network has supported the CITES Secretariat in the organization of World Wildlife Day Celebrations in Geneva.
Geneva World Wildlife Day Celebration | 50 Years of Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation and Sustainability
CITES, GEN | 3 March 2023 | 12:00 CET | Conservatory and Botanical Garden
World Wildlife Day Film Showcase: Nature’s Fear Factor | Wednesdays for the Planet
CITES, GEN, Jackson Wild | 2 March 2022 | 13:30 CET | Online
World Wildlife Day | Geneva | Sustaining All Life on Earth
CITES, GEN, Jackson Wild | 3 March 2020 | Palais des Nations
World Wildlife Day 2019 Celebration in Geneva
CITES, GEN, Jackson Wild | 1 March 2019 | Palais des Nations | Room XIV
World Wildlife Day 2016 Celebration
CITES, GEN | 3 March 2016 | Palais des Nations, Room XIV (Cinema)