"Speak out and stand up for the world's wildlife" urges UN deputy chief

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African bush elephants in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Despite increased poaching in many parts of Africa, the elephant population in Mara is presently growing. Photo: UNEP GRID Arendal/Peter Prokosch

Young people throughout the world should "speak out and stand up for the world's wildlife" according to the UN Deputy Secretary-General, and everyone needs to heed their call.

Amina Mohammed was speaking at a high-level event at UN Headquarters in New York, to mark World Wildlife Day, celebrated each 3 March.

The discussion focussed on protecting all wild flora and fauna, as well as tackling the illegal wildlife trafficking industry.

Matthew Wells has more.

The event brought together UN agencies, major NGOs involved in wildlife conservation and representatives from governments around the world.

The President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, said that human activity lay at the heart of a major decline in wildlife diversity in recent decades.

"Over the past 40 years the world has lost approximately 50 per cent of its wildlife with over 16,000 species currently considered endangered and threatened by extinction. Many of our most iconic and majestic species are affected. African elephant mortality rates now surpass their birth-rates with one elephant killed for its ivory every 15 minutes." 

Speaking at the end of her first week as UN deputy chief, Ms Mohammed said that consumers around the world had a role to play in conservation, by insisting on sustainable and fairly traded products.

She said this year's theme, Listen to the Young Voices, should galvanize everyone to think more about the survival of all species.

"Strict enforcement of laws is important, but so too is broad awareness among policy makers, affected communities and consumers. On this fourth wildlife day, we encourage young people everywhere to speak out and stand up for the world's wildlife. And we ask everyone, everywhere, to listen to the young voices who are calling for a better world for all, where we can all live in peace and prosperity on a healthy planet."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'27"

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