Message from Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP

See Ms. Andersen's video message here.

This year, World Wildlife Day focuses on Sustaining All Life on Earth. This is an opportunity to raise urgent awareness about the plight of nature, the plight of wildlife, and what this means for human wellbeing and the planet.

Science tells us that nearly one million out of the nearly 8 million species on our planet face the threat of extinction. We are losing species at an average of 1000 times the natural extinction rate. This is a catastrophe we simply cannot afford.

In 2020, the Super Year for Nature, we have a real chance to bend the curve on nature loss.

Far too much of our economic growth, food production, urbanization and resource extraction has come at the expense of wild spaces. We know for example that 70% of our tropical forests face degradation from unsustainable land conversion. And frankly where wildlife and wild spaces persist, the cost of maintaining them is borne by poor communities but the benefits accrue to us all.

This must change. The true value of nature must be accounted for in our economic models. We need to be creative and innovative in funding for sustaining wild spaces.
And we need to step up our support of sustainable trade in wildlife.

This is why instruments like the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) are so hugely important in securing global cooperation of our planet’s treasures.

And we need to acknowledge and strengthen the role of indigenous people in ensuring that healthy wildlife populations and habitats thrive in tandem.

So in this decade of delivery for action on the sustainable development goals, together, lets rise together for all life on this planet.

Let’s make this a super year for nature, and ensure that future generations can see the same beauty on this planet, that I for one, grew up with! This is the future at stake. And now is the time to act.