Protecting and restoring wildlife

Mahmoud Bakr , Friday 18 Mar 2022

Countries around the world marked World Wildlife Day earlier this month as part of efforts to protect and restore the natural world.

Egypt has successfully included some of its endangered animals and plants on the International Red L
Egypt has successfully included some of its endangered animals and plants on the International Red List of Endangered Species

Egypt participated in activities held to commemorate World Wildlife Day (WWD) on 3 March, with the global event held under the theme of “recovering key species for ecosystem restoration” and intended to raise awareness about the importance of conserving some of the most critically endangered species and step up the fight against wildlife crime and human economic, environmental, and social impacts.

Activities related to WWD are in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 on “life on land”. The goal is meant to “protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.”

Yasmine Fouad, the minister of environment, said WWD is an opportunity to celebrate the diversity and richness of global wildlife and to highlight its value for humanity on the environmental, social, scientific, educational, cultural, and economic fronts.

The celebrations sought to drive discussions towards imagining and implementing solutions to conserve wild plants and animals, she noted, adding that all the conversations are inspired by and seek to inform efforts towards the achievement of UN SDG 1 “no poverty”, SDG 2 “zero hunger”, SDG 12 “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”, SDG 13 “climate action”, SDG 14 “life below water”, and SDG 15 “life on land”.

At the same time, the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is continuing activities to urge action for the protection and revival of ecosystems. The UN Decade, launched on World Environment Day 2021, runs from 2021 through to 2030, also the deadline for the SDGs and the timeline identified as the last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change.

According to data from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, “over 8,400 species of wild fauna and flora are critically endangered, while close to 30,000 more are understood to be endangered or vulnerable. Based on these estimates, it is suggested that over a million species are threatened with extinction.”

On 20 December 2013 at its 68th session, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3 March, the day of the signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973, as UN WWD to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.

According to the Geneva Environment Network, a global information hub, 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.”

“In 2022, WWD will drive the debate towards the imperative need to reverse the fate of the most critically endangered species, to support the restoration of their habitats and ecosystems, and to promote their sustainable use by humanity,” the UN said.