Conference Agrees To Eradicate Market For Illegal Wildlife Products

 Elephants are poached for ivory in Africa

Elephants are
poached for ivory in Africa

The Kasane conference on the illegal wildlife trade has recommended a raft of measurers in a bid to arrest the unlawful trade in wildlife products.  The meeting that attracting a number of delegates from around the world, resulted in a common communiqué that called on the UN General Assembly to address the issue of the illegal wildlife trade at its sixty-ninth session.

Illegal trade in wildlife products is estimated to be a business worth around US$10 billion annually that denies economies means of livelihood.

The Botswana conference agreed that stakeholders should strengthen partnerships in a bid to reduce the demand and supply sides for illegal wildlife products. “We welcome action at both national and regional levels to tighten existing international controls on the import and export of illegal wildlife products, particularly ivory.”

This will be achieved by conducting and supporting research to improve understanding of market drivers, including monitoring the effectiveness of demand reduction strategies and collating a portfolio of demand reduction good practice.

“This research should contribute to the evidence and tools needed by Governments and others to strengthen action to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products,” stated the communiqué.

The conference also stated it recognised that to curb the illegal wildlife trade, it is important to ensure that the criminals involved, in particular those ‘kingpins’ who control the trade, are prosecuted and penalised to provide an effective deterrent.

To this end, it was agreed that national legislation will be amended as necessary and appropriate so that offences connected to the illegal wildlife trade are treated as “predicate offences”, as defined in the UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime.

“We will pursue serious and organised criminal networks involved in the illegal wildlife trade,” said the communiqué adding that they will ensure that relevant prosecutors, judges, Financial Intelligence Units, and authorities engaged in law enforcement, have the resources, knowledge and capacity effectively to investigate and prosecute financial crimes associated with wildlife crime.

On strengthening of law enforcement, the conference called on the international community to strengthen the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) to ensure that it takes a leading role in providing coordinated global support to the law enforcement community, including enhancing enforcement capacities at national, regional and international levels.

“Working with other organisations as appropriate, ICCWC should promote increased sharing of best practice and lessons learned, facilitate the exchange of information and intelligence, and foster cooperation, including, among others, through regional wildlife enforcement networks.”

The gathering agreed that for a sustainable livelihoods and economic development, the international community should promote the retention of benefits from wildlife resources by local people where they have traditional and/or legal rights over these resources.

“We will strengthen policy and legislative frameworks needed to achieve this, reinforce the voice of local people as key stakeholders and implement measures which balance the need to tackle the illegal wildlife trade with the needs of communities, including the sustainable use of wildlife.”

“We call upon the UN General Assembly to address effectively the issue of the illegal wildlife trade at its sixty-ninth session. We welcome the efforts of the Group of Friends on “Poaching and Illicit Wildlife Trafficking” to develop an ambitious draft General Assembly resolution and encourage them to consult as widely as possible,” concluded the communiqué.

The conference said it welcomed the offer of Vietnam to host a third high-level conference in late 2016 to review progress and further strengthen our action and Botswana to host the following conference.

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