The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Behati Prinsloo, Model and Global Ambassador for Save the Rhino Trust Namibia, announced today that they will team up to light New York City’s iconic Empire State Building in celebration of World Wildlife Day 2020.
The Empire State Building lighting is one of the global events leading to this year’s UN World Wildlife Day (3 March) celebrated under the theme ‘Sustaining all life on Earth’. The year 2020, known as the “biodiversity super year”, marks a critical turning point in global action to conserve nature and the planet’s biological diversity.
This year’s World Wildlife Day celebrations focused on wildlife as a component of biodiversity in its many beautiful and varied forms, raise awareness of the multitude of benefits of wildlife to people, the threats it is facing, and the urgent need for private and public sector commitments.
Behati Prinsloo flipped the switch to turn the Empire State Building’s lights blue (representing SDG 14: Life below Water) and green (representing SDG 15: Life on Land). The building’s mast will be lit gold, representing the plains of Africa, and it will feature an image of a running rhino, as a symbol of the many majestic species that face critical threats. The lights were visible to the general public on March 2nd from sunset till 2:00 am 3rd March.
“Wildlife is under immense threat, even in my homeland, Namibia, where rhinos are being senselessly poached. We human beings are doing this to them, yet we have the power to prevent this ancient, noble species from going extinct. Immediate action is needed to conserve wildlife so that our children can grow up with a sense of wonder and appreciation of our rich and diverse planet,” noted Behati Prinsloo.
CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said: “Wild fauna and flora are part of our everyday lives and valuable for humankind in so many different ways, whether you live next to Gorongosa National Park or in Manhattan. Raising awareness of their value and the threats they face, and pushing for transformative actions in order to conserve them for future generations are the imperative tasks facing governments, civil society, industry and all citizens of the world. Powerful symbolic gestures such as the lighting of an iconic building like the Empire State can galvanize the public and draw their attention to these critical issues. We thank the managers of the Empire State Building for offering such a powerful symbol to celebrate UN World Wildlife Day 2020, and we are most grateful for the important advocacy work of Ms. Prinsloo and the support of our partners at UNDP.”
The CITES Secretariat is designated by the United Nations General Assembly as the global facilitator for the celebration of the World Wildlife Day each year in collaboration with organizations in the United Nations system. It
As noted by Midori Paxton, Head of Biodiversity for the United Nations Development Programme: “Biodiversity underpins all life on Earth. By investing in wildlife conservation and biodiversity, we can realize benefits across all facets of our lives from human health and livelihoods, to climate adaptation, as well as peace and security. We hope that the Empire State Building’s lights will inspire all New Yorkers, and the world, to celebrate wildlife and to help conserve all species for a more sustainable, prosperous future.”
Article by UNDP.ORG