24 October 2022
GLOBAL AGREEMENT NEEDED TO TACKLE WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING
On 21st October 2022, Born Free, representing the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime, co-hosted a high-level event alongside the governments of Peru and Gabon at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC).
Image © UNODC
The world’s wildlife is in crisis, with a million or more species at risk of extinction, and nature in unprecedented decline. Wildlife crime is a big part of the problem. The trafficking of wild animals and parts and products derived from them has become a multi-billion-dollar global business controlled by organised criminal networks. Wildlife trafficking increases the extinction risk facing many species, damages ecosystems and their ability to sequester carbon, poses a threat to national and regional stability, undermines good governance and the rule of law, and increases the likelihood of zoonotic diseases emergence. Yet there is currently no global agreement to tackle this global scourge.
Born Free is a founding member of the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime, which was created in June 2020 to encourage governments to come together to create a new global agreement on preventing and combating wildlife crime. To this end the Initiative has been promoting the development of an additional Protocol on illicit wildlife trafficking under the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC).
During its 31st session in May 2022, the UN’s Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) adopted a resolution entitled “Strengthening the international legal framework for international cooperation to prevent and combat illicit trafficking in wildlife”. This important Resolution was sponsored by the governments of Angola, Kenya and Peru and cosponsored by Gabon, and provides the framework for discussions on the development of a global agreement.
On 21st October 2022, Born Free, representing the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime, co-hosted a high-level event alongside the governments of Peru and Gabon at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the UNTOC. The event, which took place at the UN Complex in Vienna, Austria and was also broadcast live to an online audience, was moderated by Born Free’s Head of Policy Dr Mark Jones. It featured Claudia Guevara, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Government of Peru to the United Nations, and His Excellency Abias Moma Huongo, Angola’s Secretary of State for the Environment. A statement was also read out on behalf of His Excellency Lee White CBE, Minister of Water, Forests, the Sea and Environment for the Government of Gabon.
The event also featured short presentations by international experts on wildlife conservation, environmental law and transnational organized crime, including former Secretary-General of CITES and Chair of the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime John Scanlon AO; Susan Lylis from the International Conservation Caucus Foundation; Olivia Swaak-Goldman from the Wildlife Justice Commission; and Daniel Kachelriess from Sea Shepherd Legal. Rikka Puttonen from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime gave an overview of the process involved in working towards a global agreement.
Dame Jane Goodall DBE also provided a poignant video statement in support.
Speaking after moderating the event, Mark Jones said: “Wildlife trafficking is now the fourth biggest criminal activity globally by value and is running out of control with devastating consequences for wildlife and people alike. A strong global agreement would elevate the important of tackling wildlife crime and help enforcement agencies coordinate their activities much more effectively, so perpetrators can be brought to justice and the criminal networks involved can be dismantled. In this light it was heartening to see the strong support from government representatives and hear the views of our experts in the room. We now urge all governments to get behind the process of developing a global agreement, for the sake of the natural world and the rule of law.”
Born Free will continue to work with our partners at the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime to foster support for a global agreement.