World Wildlife Day Focuses on Life Below Water
High-level representatives from U.N. member states and international organizations gathered at the United Nations Headquarters on Friday to celebrate the U.N. World Wildlife Day (March 3) under the theme: Life below water: for people and planet.
The event was organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Over three billion people depend on these resources for their livelihoods globally. The market value of marine and coastal resources and related industries is estimated at $3 trillion per year, about five percent of global GDP.
“Five to 12 million tons of plastic now enter the ocean every year, threatening the health of countless species - from the smallest zooplankton to the largest whales. 90 percent of large predators have already been taken out of the ocean by overfishing, some 30 percent of fish stocks are over-exploited, and over 500 hypoxic areas have become ‘dead zones’ uninhabitable for most species,” said UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. “To reverse this, a literal ‘sea change’ is required in how we manage both ocean and land-based activities, across sectors ranging from fisheries to agriculture to waste management.”
The ocean contains nearly 200,000 identified species, but actual numbers may be in the millions.