9 March 2015

UN proclaims World Wildlife Day, cooperation vital to combating wildlife crime

Illegal wildlife trade undermines rule of law, degrades ecosystems and severely hampers the efforts of rural communities striving to sustainably manage their natural resources, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as the UN marked World Wildlife Day on 3 March 2015. “Getting serious about wildlife crime means enrolling the support of all sections of society involved in the production and consumption of wildlife products, which are widely used as medicines, food, building materials, furniture, cosmetics, clothing and accessories,” the Secretary-General said. “The situation is serious,” he declared, urging the international community to tackle the poaching, transport and consumption of illegally traded wildlife and in so doing use the same sorts of enforcement tools, techniques and penalties used to combat other serious crimes, such as trafficking in drugs or persons.

“Wildlife crime is a transnational organized crime generating billions of dollars and undermining development. It is also an inter-generational crime that can permanently scar the world through the loss of some of our most beautiful creatures. To stop this, we must act now,” said Yury Fedotov, Executive Director for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The President of the UN General Assembly called for a coordinated international response to the trafficking of wildlife that took aim at the both the supply and demand side of poaching and the illegal trade in animals. “We need to strengthen our commitment and enhance cooperation among member states, the UN system, NGOs and civil society to curb wildlife crime,” said Sam Kutesa as the Assembly commemorated World Wildlife Day. “We should do more to promote adequate national legislation, improve intelligence sharing and border controls, strengthen global, regional and national enforcement, improve capabilities to combat poaching and illegal trafficking, among other initiatives.”

Jan Eliasson, the UN Deputy Secretary-General called for “swift action” to combat the illegal trade and outlined the work of the UN system to tackle it, including coordinated efforts by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UNODC to promote alternative livelihoods, raise awareness, strengthen the rule of law and improve the data and evidence base for interventions. The UNDP is launching new initiatives to halt the illegal trade in wildlife in Asia and Africa. These initiatives will tackle wildlife crime by focussing on law enforcement, regulations, and engaging the private sector and strengthening collaboration between governments within and across the two regions.

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Source: UN News Centre | Cooperation vital to combating wildlife crime, says UN Assembly President
Source: UN News Centre | ‘It’s time to get serious about wildlife crime’ UN proclaims on World Wildlife Day

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