CITES Secretary-General Urges Air Transport Sector to Help Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade
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The Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) John Scanlon called on the air transport sector to join the fight against illegal wildlife trade.

Scanlon made the plea while attending the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) Global Sustainable Aviation Summit 2015, which met in Geneva, Switzerland, from 29-30 September 2015, exchanging views with air transport leaders on the role the sector could play in reducing illegal trade in wildlife.

cites29 September 2015: The Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), John Scanlon, has called on the air transport sector to join the fight against illegal wildlife trade. Scanlon made the plea while attending the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) Global Sustainable Aviation Summit 2015, which met in Geneva, Switzerland, from 29-30 September.

At the meeting, the CITES Secretary-General exchanged views with air transport leaders on the role the sector could play in reducing illegal trade in wildlife. He emphasized that transnational organized crime groups are exploiting air transport to move their contraband, including illegal rhino horn and pangolin scales. While raw illegal elephant ivory is primarily transported by sea, he added that most illegally traded worked ivory is transported by air. Scanlon also said that finding such contraband is akin to looking for a “needle in a haystack,” as only a fraction of overall cargo or passengers are carrying illegally traded wildlife, and emphasized that enforcement agencies require good information and intelligence. In this regard, he highlighted the role that transport sector staff can play by providing an “extra sets of eyes and ears on the ground” and passing on suspicious activity to relevant authorities.

A Transport Task Force established by The Royal Foundation, under the patronage of HRH the Duke of Cambridge and chaired by William Hague, is already addressing some of these issues, and highlighted, during the Summit, areas where the transport sector could assist, namely: adopting and publicizing a zero tolerance policy on illegal trade in wildlife; raising awareness of the scale, nature and impacts of illegal trade; and providing customs and other enforcement agencies with information or intelligence gathered by staff working on the ground. [CITES Press Release] [Remarks by CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon] [Global Aviation Summit Website]

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