We join in marking World Wildlife Day with many partners around the world. Together, we can conserve the diversity of life on this planet, which is critical for supporting healthy ecosystems.
Many wildlife species are under increasing threats from wildlife trafficking and nature crime. Wildlife trafficking is a security threat and an especially harmful form of transnational organized crime, often with far reaching impacts on nature. Wildlife trafficking undermines the rule of law, facilitates corruption, deprives communities of legitimate livelihoods and natural resources, and contributes to the spread of disease.
As we seek to end the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States also endeavors to strengthen global health systems and health security including through promoting the One Health approach. Strengthening the One Health approach will require tackling the upstream drivers of zoonotic disease risks such as illegal deforestation and wildlife trafficking.
We know what is possible when we work to conserve biodiversity. As just one example, thanks to decades of hard work, our national symbol – the bald eagle – has been brought back from the brink of extinction and is no longer endangered. The United States remains committed to leading global efforts to secure the continued existence of protected wildlife in their natural habits by conserving ecosystems, protecting biodiversity, and combating wildlife trafficking. Together, we will continue to make sure that biodiversity – including species such as rhinos, tigers, and pangolins – continues to thrive.
We are currently facing the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change, adding pressure to ecosystems and their ability to function. The Administration’s Plan to Conserve Global Forests: Critical Carbon Sinks released late last year details a whole-of-government approach to conserving, restoring, and sustainably managing forests and other ecosystems at home and abroad in order to combat these crises and ensure intact forests can continue to support wildlife.