UN World Wildlife Day 2021 to celebrate the livelihoods of communities who rely on forests, and the value of these ecosystems for both wildlife and all of humanity.
Geneva, 23 November 2020 – The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) announced today the theme of United Nations World Wildlife Day 2021: “Forests and livelihoods: sustaining people and planet”.
Covering nearly a third of the planet’s land surface, forests and woodlands are key pillars of human livelihoods and well-being.
Over 800 million people live in tropical forests and savannahs in developing countries. Indigenous and rural communities have a particularly close relationship with these natural systems. They rely on them to meet their essential needs, from food and shelter to energy and medicines, but they also maintain a strong personal, cultural, and spiritual relationship with these environments. Indigenous peoples and local communities are also historic custodians of the planet’s most important reservoirs of biodiversity, including forests.
The ecosystem services and resources forests and woodlands provide, from filtering and storing freshwater to ensuring the fertility of soils or to regulating the climate, are essential to the global economy and to people everywhere. Yet forests are now at the crossroads of the multiple planetary crises we currently face, from climate change to biodiversity loss and the social and economic impacts of the current global pandemic.