Celebrating World Wildlife Day

World's Most Beautiful Fish

On March 3, UN member states and civil societies gathered in the ECOSOC Chamber to celebrate World Wildlife Day 2016. Under the theme “The future of wildlife is in our hands,” wildlife conservation was a recurring topic of discussion. Ms. Gallach opened the conference with statements in support of protection for African and Asian elephants. She also called for stronger law enforcement and government participation to fight wildlife crime. Following, Mr. Harris emphasized the need for outreach and communication, which are essential to inspiring people to engage in activity to end illegal trade. As poaching is reaching unprecedented proportions, the continuation of raising awareness particularly to consumers of wildlife products is important.

Ms. Monasebian introduced a stricter tone and pointed out weak international law enforcements and under-equipped agencies. She then listed ways that the UNODC is combatting wildlife crime, including working with law enforcement to build judicial capacity and providing alternative livelihoods. A video statement from Mr. Vella continued this sentiment and highlighted the need for cooperation and collaboration.

Later, Mr. Sekhran gave a powerful statement on how there is no economy without nature, and humans depend upon the planet for our existence. He underscored how protecting nature is crucial as the population will grow by another one billion people prior to 2030, and statisticians have said that the world will not stabilize until population hits 11.2 billion.

Finally, Ms. Paratian wrapped up the presentations with examples of awareness in regards to wildlife protection. She cited the Chi Campaign in Vietnam, which is directed towards businessmen purchasing rhino horns as status symbols. Although it is difficult to be fully knowledgeable on the true impacts of these campaigns, she advocated for further involvement in these endeavors for wildlife conservation.

Meeting: Celebration of World Wildlife Day 2016

Date/Location: Thursday, March 3, 2016; ECOSOC Chamber; UN Headquarters; NYC

Speakers: John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General; Cristina Gallach, Under-Secretary-General on behalf of UN Deputy Secretary-General; Virachai Plasai, Permanent Representative of Thailand; Elliott Harris, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of NY Office of UNEP; Simone Monasebian, Director of NY Office of UNODC on behalf of UNODC Executive Director; Karmenu Vella, EC Commissioner of Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries; Heiko Thoms, Ambassador of Charge d’Affaires of Germany to UN; Robert Dreher, Associate Director of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Nik Sekhran, Chief of Practice & Director, Sustainable Development Cluster, Bureau of Policy and Programme Support, UNDP; John Robinson, Executive Vice President, Conservation and Science, WCS; Tania Paratian, Manager Intergovernmental Relations, WWF International

Written by: WIT Representatives Julianne Jeon and Olivia Gong

Edited by: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

UN Working Group Meets to Discuss the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity

With a view to provide recommendations to the UN General Assembly, the eighth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group was convened today to discuss issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction (ABNJ). This meeting was the second of the three meetings to discuss the scope, parameters and feasibility of a possible new international instrument.

During the opening session this morning, Co-Chair Ms. Lijnzaad delivered an opening remark to encourage the Working Group to move forward together in achieving an effective legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in ABNJ, and reassured the necessity of a new international instrument. She mentioned the need to address legal, regulatory and implementation gaps such as addressing fragmentation in governance, and to develop a benefit-sharing regime for marine genetic resources.

ImageMember states and parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) were invited to consider the organization of the work of the meeting. Norway remained open to negotiate a new implementing agreement that can add value to the existing international legal framework, and recommended a needs-based approach to identify legal gaps in the present regime. Norway also emphasized clarity, predictability and confidence among the Working Group, and pointed out practical needs were of great concern in which feasibility is a product of scope and parameters.

The European Union supported a new agreement and called for other parties to have strong political will to achieve the goals of marine conservation. The new agreement should also specify duties of parties in terms of identifying a practical solution and implementation in order to strengthen interaction and coordination across regions and sectors. Mexico and Austria pointed out it is not necessary to establish a new structure, rather the new agreement should be fully integrated into the established Law of the Sea architecture and in full compliance with the existing regimes, while avoiding redundancy. Mexico also pointed out that the legal framework should be functionally well defined to ensure greater coordination and capacity building. Lastly, Trinidad and Tobago stressed the need to take into account a precautionary principle, and Austria stressed the need for ecosystem-based management in the new agreement.


Meeting Title: Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction
Speakers: Ms. Liesbeth Lijnzaad, Legal Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands; Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel
Location: United Nations HQ, Conference Room 1, New York
Date: 16 June 2014
Written by WIT representative: Tracy Lau
Edited by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan