New partnership aims to help put a stop to illegal wildlife trade

The Illegal trade in wildlife is a massive, multibillion-dollar market driven by international criminal networks and exacerbated by a nexus of poverty and corruption. Wildlife trade is a crime that, when combined with other threats like habitat loss and climate change, can drive thousands of species to the brink of extinction, lead to ecosystem breakdown and spread invasive species.
In response to the global wildlife trafficking crisis, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Wild for Life campaign works with the United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Among other activities, the campaign works through high-profile social media influencers that bring the urgency, scale and relevance of wildlife trafficking to a global audience. This community of champions has reached nearly 1 billion followers with nearly 10 million social media interactions. Through the campaign, several species have received greater protection from the Convention, including, elephants, rhinos, pangolins, helmeted hornbills, rosewood and mako sharks.
For the 2020 Super Year on Biodiversity, UNEP and the China Green Foundation signed an agreement to expand efforts to raise awareness and inspire action for both work to end illegal trade of wildlife and, more broadly, the value of healthy biodiversity to human well-being.
Contributions from the China Green Foundation, a non-governmental organization, will be used to profile country-level efforts and best practice, and to support the campaign’s topic areas and activations.

The communication efforts will help in delivering Sustainable Development Goals 14 (Life below water) and 15 (Life on land) with their relevant targets of “urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity, and protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species by 2020”. It will also help further work to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products.

“We at UNEP are so grateful to the China Green Foundation for their recognition of the effectiveness of the Wild for Life campaign in helping to tackle illegal wildlife trade in China, and for their support to continue the work of building knowledge and understanding for the importance of nature’s vital services,” said Lisa Rolls, head of biodiversity communications.

China Green Foundation was founded in 1985. It is one of China’s most influential foundations with its focus on eco-conservation and restoration. Its main efforts are on land greening, combating desertification, natural forest and wetland conservation, endangered species protection, and public awareness education.
Wild for Life was launched in 2016 with funding from the government of Norway to raise awareness and mobilize public support for stronger legislation that help prevent and reduce demand for illegal wildlife products.
The campaign has also garnered a Webby People’s Choice Award for Green Websites, Shorty Award for Best Social Good Campaign and was ranked in Weibo’s list of top 10 most influential advocacy campaigns in China in 2016.


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