United Nations General Assembly adopts resolution on wildlife trafficking
On 30th July the United Nations General Assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution to combat wildlife trafficking. The Resolution calls on all 193 UN member states to take on a series of actions to “prevent, combat, and eradicate the illegal trade in wildlife.” Eurogroup for Animals welcomes the adoption of the Resolution, which is an historic step forward and the first UN Resolution specifically targeting wildlife trafficking.
The Governments of Gabon and Germany initially proposed the resolution, and then led efforts among member states to garner support. The Resolution has been described by Sam Kutesa, the UN General Assembly President, as an “important initiative and step forward” to combat illicit trafficking in wildlife worldwide.
According to the UN, wildlife crime has transformed into one of the largest transnational organized criminal activities alongside trafficking in drugs, arms and human beings. The UN Resolution calls for firm and strengthened national measures, and an enhanced regional and global response. It is aimed at both supply and demand, including by strengthening the legislation necessary for the prevention, investigation and prosecution of offences, treating certain wildlife offences as a serious crime, providing for illegal trade in wildlife offences to be treated as predicate offences (for anti-money laundering offences), supporting the exchange of evidence between States and taking steps to prohibit, prevent and counter corruption. It also urges member states to develop sustainable and alternative livelihoods for communities affected by wildlife trafficking.
The Resolution takes place at a time when wildlife poaching levels are alarmingly high, with reports of more than 100,000 elephants killed for their ivory in just three years and a recent increase in the number of large ivory seizures. The illegal trade in ivory, wildlife and wildlife parts and products is not only a threat to the conservation of species, but also to national and global security as well as to social and economic development in the countries in which it occurs. The illegal wildlife trade generates an estimated US $19 billion per year. It ranks fourth on the list of the most lucrative global illegal activities closely behind drugs, counterfeiting and human trafficking. The full text of the Resolution is available here.