Nairobi, 29 November 2016 - A new European Union (EU) resolution on wildlife trafficking calls on EU member states to address corruption and the shortcomings of international governance measures across the wildlife trafficking chain ‘as a matter of urgency’.
The European Parliament resolution on the ‘EU Action Plan Against Wildlife Trafficking’ passed last Thursday highlights that widespread corruption, institutional weaknesses, and mismanagement and weak penalties for wildlife crime are major challenges to be addressed if transnational wildlife trafficking is to be combated effectively. It urges member states to support developing countries in their efforts to reduce poaching incentives by improving economic opportunities and promoting good governance and the rule of law.
The resolution urges governments of supply countries to strengthen criminal investigation, prosecution and sentencing, and to enact stronger to combat illicit wildlife trafficking. It further demands that such trafficking be considered as a ‘serious crime’ deserving of the same level of attention and gravity as other forms of transnational organised crime. It also asks countries to commit to a ‘zero-tolerance policy’ on corruption.
The resolution recognises the critical role local communities play in addressing the illegal trade in wildlife, as well as the need to reduce demand for certain products. It calls for more development of alternative sustainable livelihoods for rural communities close to wildlife, and more awareness raising and demand reduction campaigns in consumer countries. UN Environment, through its biggest digital campaign to date, ‘Wild for Life,’ has reached over a billion people and inspired 2.5 million social media engagements. With pledges of action from 10,000 people and 40,000 having found and shared their kindred species, Wild for Life is poised to become a movement that demonstrates how we can each use our sphere of influence to make positive change in the world.
Citing the need for a stronger global partnership to tackle the illegal trade in wildlife, the resolution encourages more dialogue and cooperation between EU member states and source, transit and destination countries. It calls for an upgrade in financial and technical support to help developing countries implement national wildlife regulations in line with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) recommendations.
The EU, through the resolution welcomed the fact that it participated in the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties for the first time as a party to CITES and welcomes UN Environment’s expert review process on environmental crime, which is seeking to create a universally recognised definition of environmental crime.
The resolution comes just days after the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for enhanced cooperation between Interpol and the UN System in response to member states’ growing concern over the rising tide of organized crime around the world, including environmental crime.
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