By Ranjan K Baruah
O ne of the popular global events in recent years has been celebration of World Environment Day (WED). World Environment Day (WED) is the United tions’ most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Each WED is organized around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern. WED 2016 is themed on the illegal trade in wildlife under the slogan ‘Go Wild for Life’. This year’s theme is directly connected to the people of Assam.
Since its inception in 1974, World Environment Day has developed into a global platform for raising awareness and taking action on increasingly urgent issues from marine pollution and global warming to sustaible consumption and wildlife crime. Millions of people around the world have been motivated by the ‘people’s day’ for action, and are increasingly weaving their activities into a global movement.
Every year UNEP chooses a host country and a theme. The main focus theme in last few decades can be summarized as follows
* 1972 – 1982—UN desigtes June 5 as World Environment Day in 1972; two years later, WED is celebrated for the first time under the slogan “Only One Earth.”
* 1983 – 1992—WED’s profile grows as it boosts campaigns around global priorities including climate change and sustaible development; official WED celebrations start rotating around the globe
* 1993 – 2002—tions accounting for nearly one-third of the world’s population take turns hosting WED, including Chi (twice), Russia, Japan and Turkey; WED goes digital.
* 2003 – 2012—People around the world register more than 4,000 WED activities (in 2011) and visit the website more than 4.25 million times (in 2012); the Arab world and the United States host WED for the first time; WED draws attention to climate change for three consecutive years.
* 2013 till 2016 —WED embraces smaller and less-developed tions while tackling even bigger topics: from sustaible consumption to the illegal trade in wildlife; the annual day of action that began more than 40 years earlier goes viral on social media.
Wildlife crime endangers iconic elephants, rhinos, tigers, gorillas and sea turtles. In 2011, a subspecies of Javan rhino went extinct in Vietm, while the last western black rhinos vanished from Cameroon the same year. Great apes have disappeared from Gambia, Burki Faso, Benin and Togo, and other countries could quickly follow. Lesser-known victims include helmeted hornbills and pangolins as well as wild orchids and timbers like Rosewood – flowers and timber are also considered wildlife!
Huge efforts to counter the illicit trade - including stronger policies, awareness campaigns and investments in community conservation and law enforcement - have scored some great successes. However, many species remain at risk and it will take a dedicated and sustained effort by each and every one of us to turn the tide.
This year’s theme for WED – Go Wild for Life – encourages us to celebrate all those species under threat and take action of your own to help safeguard them for future generations. We can do many things related to the theme. People of Assam are concerned about the rhinos of the state. Rhino poaching for the horns have got top priority in elections. It shows how important is Assam’s rhino for its people. But in spite of many things last few years have shocked the people of Assam as there were poaching. Like Assam, many other regions are also facing problem with illegal trade related to wildlife. Illegal trade in wildlife is a threat to biodiversity. We need to come together, build a team, plan and execute events and activities. We need to be vigilant against illegal wildlife trades. Let us discourage people who use any product made of wildlife. Together we can make a difference and let’s take action against illegal wildlife trades for preserving biodiversity and protecting the planet.
(With inputs from UNEP website and published on the occasion of World Environment Day and feedback may be sent to email@example.com)