We have a fight on our hands. We are losing biodiversity at an unprecedented rate and science has told us there will be consequences. Nature is our frontline defense against climate change. It gives us food, shelter and medicines. It cleans the air we breathe and the water we drink. It is the basis for our economy, our societies and our existence. All of us must work hard to halt the loss of biodiversity.
At the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora or CITES, we worry about the number of species of animals and plants that are threatened and the rising extinctions. If we are to conserve our precious wildlife and human well-being, we must be more focused on sustainability – that is making sure that our actions don’t endanger the species we depend upon. CITES has a unique role to play - it regulates all international trade in these endangered species and nearly every nation on earth is legally committed to it.
We have goals by which we will judge our success. The UN Sustainable Development Goals aim to conserve our planet and protect and enrich humanity. CITES is playing its part in that work and in the work for a global framework to halt biodiversity loss and achieve harmony with nature. Our own meeting, in November, known as the World Wildlife Conference, will take decisions to keep us on track to achieve our goals. But no decisions that we make, no work that we do, can succeed in reversing the global crises we face without mass global action to go along with it. If you are watching this, you are needed as part of the solution. Everyone can play their part in restoring our ecosystems and building a shared future for all life. That’s why CITES works with Indigenous peoples and local communities, as evidence has shown that they are the most effective guardians of forests and wildlife. And with industry so that they make efforts to use resources wisely.
On this International Day of Biodiversity, think about what you can do to make a difference; changes to your lifestyle or the support you can give to groups that are preserving biodiversity and ecosystems. I guarantee that if you stand with millions of others, together we will be an irresistible force for change.