VIENNA, 3rd March, 2017 (WAM) -- The global demand for wildlife products must be reduced by building sustainable livelihoods for those in affected communities as well as by urging the world's young people to act, said Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, marking World Wildlife Day on March 3.

"There is an urgent need to educate, to criminalise illegally sourced wildlife products and to make good use of the UN Conventions against Transnational Organised Crime and Corruption against criminals," said Fedotov in a statement in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This year, World Wildlife Day is being celebrated under the theme, "Listen to the Young Voices," in an effort to encourage the world's youth to rally together and address major threats to wildlife, including habitat change, over-exploitation and illicit trafficking.

Given that almost a quarter of the world's population is aged between 10 and 24, the future leaders and decision makers of the world need to be motivated to act at both local and global levels to protect endangered wildlife.

The theme of this year's World Wildlife Day "calls on all of us, from the very youngest to the oldest, to unite and to help prevent the wholesale elimination of our wildlife and forests. World Wildlife Day has chosen as its theme the need to listen. We must show that we have heard by working together for the good of this amazing planet to end wildlife and forest crime," Fedotov said.

"UNODC's World Wildlife Crime Report, which came out last year, showed that wildlife and forest products are often hidden in plain sight. These products appear in fashion, furniture as well as in food. We all, therefore, bear a responsibility to act," he continued.

"Through research, and working with our partners across the UN and beyond, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime is committed to playing a crucial role. But no organisation or single country has the resources to end these devastating crimes," he said.

On 20th December, 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, proclaimed 3rd March, the day that the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CITES, was signed, as UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world's wild animals and plants.

Source: Emirates News Agency