WAZA Signs MOU with UN

Date: 2017/10/24


WAZA Commits to Environmental Action with UN Agreement


WAZA Commits to Environmental Action with UN Agreement



The global battle to counter the marine litter clogging oceans, the pollution ravaging coral reefs, the illegal trade devastating key species and the behaviour change required to meet those challenges were the focus of an agreement signed today, 17 October, between United Nations (UN) Environment and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), at the 72nd WAZA Annual Conference in Berlin.

The five-year Memorandum of Understanding was signed by UN Environment Executive Director, Erik Solheim and WAZA President, Jenny Gray, and
focuses on the joint communication and implementation of behavioural change activities, focusing on marine plastic pollution, protecting coral reefs and reducing demand for wildlife products.

“The relationship between UN Environment and WAZA is a match made in heaven,” Solheim said. “Each partner brings unique capabilities to this agreement and I look forward to the future of this partnership.”


WAZA and UNEP will strive to collaboratively identify and implement private sector partnerships to influence the design and production processes of relevant industries, as well as collaborate to engage political leaders to take action.

UN Environment will provide WAZA and its member zoos and aquariums with content and resources from its Global Partnership on Marine Litter and Clean Seas campaigns, along with its efforts to protect coral reefs.  UN Environment and WAZA will also collaborate with the Ocean Project in support of World Oceans Day.

UN Environment will also include WAZA in its successful Wild for Life campaign, with a focus on the illegal trade in wildlife in Southeast Asia.

“WAZA is seeking to leverage the 700 million visitors who visit zoos and aquariums each year on behalf of these social and environmental crises,” said WAZA Chief Executive Officer Doug Cress. “This agreement with UN Environment offers the WAZA community the resources to change consumer behaviour and lead by example.”

Toward that end, WAZA will seek to encourage at least 50 percent of its membership, to either eliminate or be in the process of eliminating single-use plastic from its consumer chain by 2023.


Plastic pollution, the decimation of coral reefs and animals for wildlife products are becoming increasingly critical problems. Is it estimated that if action is not taken now, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish, by 2050.


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