South Africa marks World Wildlife Day
03 March 2016
As countries around the globe mark World Wildlife Day, South Africa's Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa has called on all citizens to work together for the protection and conservation of the country’s wildlife.
Today, 3 March, countries around the world mark World Wildlife Day, whose theme this year is, “The future of wildlife is in our hands,” in recognition of the role played by every citizen in the protection of wildlife and their habitat.
World Wildlife Day was first proclaimed in 2013 at the 6th session of the United National General Assembly (UNGA), and aims to raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.
As noted by the United Nations: “our collective conservation actions can be the difference between a species surviving, or disappearing.”
Globally, the survival of wild species of animals and plants is under threat, as mass harvesting of natural resources, human settlement encroachment and industrial activity like mining and logging, result in habitat loss and ecosystem depletion.
In 2016 South Africa will host the 17th Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Johannesburg.
The conference that will run from 24 September to 5 October 2016, brings together government representatives, lawmakers, enforcement and customs officials and rangers from across the globe. COP17 is expected to tackle some of the biggest issues in conservation, such as poaching and the illicit trade in wildlife and plant species. Elephants, pangolins, rhinoceros, sharks, tigers and precious tree species are among the most critically poached and trafficked species across the world.
Minister Edna Molewa yesterday signed the Host Country Agreement for the 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Minister Molewa signed the Host Country Agreement with the Secretary-General of CITES Mr John Scanlon on the margins of an international conference on wildlife crime in The Hague, in the Netherlands
“Our hosting of this conference is testament to the important role South Africa has played and continues to play in species conservation,” says Minister Molewa. The Minister added that this year’s World Wildlife Day was an opportunity to galvanize the South African public around the issue of wildlife conservation.
“We are a country with abundant wildlife resources whose significance goes way beyond conservation…wildlife is inherently tied to the social, economic, scientific, cultural, recreational and educational fabric of this country,” says Minister Molewa.
The Minister reiterated a call to all South Africans to play their part in the conservation of wildlife in the third most mega bio-diverse country in the world.
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