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CITES welcomes UN General Assembly resolution on wildlife trafficking

A United Nations General Assembly resolution unanimously adopted on ‘Tackling Illicit Trafficking in Wildlife’ has been welcomed by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as a sign of increased political engagement against the crimes.


The resolution, passed on 30 July, expresses concern over the serious nature and increasing scale of poaching and illegal trade in wildlife and its adverse economic, social and environmental impacts, as well as particular concern over the steady rise in the level of rhino poaching and alarmingly high levels of elephant killings in Africa.


Adoption of the text “reflects the heightened level of political concern over the devastating impacts of poaching and illegal trade in wildlife,” said CITES Secretary-General John E. Scanlon. “It is particularly important in strengthening political resolve to combat these serious crimes,” he noted.


The UN Group of Friends on Poaching and Illicit Wildlife Trafficking was “instrumental” in preparing the resolution, said Scanlon, while recognising that two high-level side events on poaching and illicit wildlife had also helped pave the way for its adoption


Within the UNGA resolution, concern is expressed that illicit trafficking in protected species of wild fauna and flora is in some cases an increasingly sophisticated form of transnational organised crime posing wide-ranging threats to States.


The text furthermore recognises the legal framework provided by CITES and its important role together with other biodiversity-related international conventions.


In the same spirit, Mr Scanlon met with the new INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock on 23 July to discuss the importance of continued collaboration in the field of environmental crime.


CITES and INTERPOL are both members of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), a global consortium supporting national and regional efforts to prevent and tackle crimes against wildlife and natural resources. The role of the ICCWC in providing technical assistance to States in this field was furthermore recognised by July’s UN resolution.


Photos from the meeting can be viewed here.
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